(City News Service Via: Signal Tribune)
The city of Long Beach reported 14 new fatalities due to COVID-19 today, its highest single-day total to date, and the city’s health officer — echoing county health officials — said the grim numbers are the result of the public ignoring warnings to avoid gatherings over Thanksgiving.
“These deaths were preventable,” city Health Officer Anissa Davis said in a statement. “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,” she said. “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.”
Long Beach has its own health department separate from Los Angeles County.
Since the pandemic began, 333 people have died in the city due to the virus, including 63 in the past month alone. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s mother and stepfather died from the virus within weeks of each other this summer.
Responding to Davis’ statement about rising deaths in the city, Garcia wrote on Twitter, “Each one of those lives had value and a family. Our love and prayers go out to every family impacted.”
Davis added her voice to those urging people to avoid gatherings over the upcoming Christmas holiday.
“For many people, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. It connects them to their family and their faith,” she said. “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.”
Long Beach reported another 436 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, giving it a cumulative total of 26,717.