PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

12/22/2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 122220-3
Subject:
Official Statement by City of Long Beach Health Officer Regarding the Increase in COVID-19 Fatalities
Contact:
City of Long Beach Joint Information Center
562.570.NEWS
jic@longbeach.gov





Today, the City of Long Beach reached a grim milestone, reporting 14 new fatalities from COVID-19. This is the highest number of fatalities we have ever reported in a single day--the previous record of deaths reported in a single day, set on December 14, was seven.

These deaths were preventable. Over Thanksgiving, people gathered with their family and friends. This massive exposure created a surge, not only among those who gathered but also afterward through community spread. 

Our average number of new cases went from 47 per day, on Nov. 1, to 622 on Dec. 18. That’s an increase of 1223%. We know that hospitalizations increase about two weeks after a surge begins, and deaths typically follow two weeks after that. Our actions from this past month are coming home to roost.

And hospitalizations keep going up: Since Thanksgiving, the number of Long Beach residents hospitalized with COVID-19 increased from 67 to 154, a 129% increase, and hospitalizations in our area hospitals increased from 111 to 367, an increase of 230%. The number of weekly deaths has more than tripled. Sadly, we will hit more milestones regarding daily fatalities. 

We can and must stop this trend.

For many people, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. It connects them to their family and their faith. I know it’s hard to be away from loved ones at this time of year--it’s hard for me, too. But I urge you, even if you feel you and your friends and family have been safe, to gather only with the members of your own household. We are seeing a big surge in testing so that people can find out if they are safe to travel or gather. A negative test only tells you that the virus is not detectable at the time of the test. But it can take a few days after you’ve been exposed to the virus before you have  a positive test yourself, so traveling with a negative test today doesn’t mean you aren’t bringing COVID-19 with you to your Christmas gathering. 

Since the pandemic began, 26,717 people in Long Beach have tested positive for COVID-19. Many of them are still actively infected and, thus, contagious. And of the 333 Long Beach residents who have died, 63 passed away just this past month. They were our neighbors, our parents, our children and our friends. 

If we don’t want to see another, even stronger surge, we need to make sacrifices this holiday season. Stay home as much as you possibly can; wear a face covering over your nose and mouth whenever you are out; and whatever you do, don’t gather with others outside your household, either inside or outside. Our lives depend on it. 
 
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