Long Beach, CA – With COVID-19 cases rising, the City of Long Beach has entered the Medium (Yellow) Tier of COVID-19 Community Level, the second of three tiers outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) is urging residents to be vigilant and take preventative steps to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We must do everything we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses as we enter the holiday season,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “With cases rising, it is more important than ever to get vaccinated and boosted, use masks and stay home if you’re not feeling well. These steps will continue to help keep people safe, businesses open and, most importantly, save lives.
The Health Department strongly recommends that people mask indoors, especially those who are at high risk for severe disease and after close contact with someone who tested positive. Residents are encouraged to follow other common-sense COVID-19 safety strategies, such as staying home when sick; frequent hand washing; and testing for COVID-19 when in contact with someone who has the virus or when experiencing any COVID-like symptoms. Knowing you are infected early also allows for earlier access to treatment options, especially for those who may be at risk for severe illness.
It is especially important for everyone to become vaccinated and boosted when eligible. Vaccines and boosters continue to be the easiest and best defenses against COVID-19 illness, and are especially effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death among breakthrough cases of the virus. The updated bivalent boosters offer increased protection against strains that are currently circulating, including omicron and its subvariants. To view the most up-to-date vaccine clinic schedule and to schedule an appointment, visit longbeach.gov/vaxLB or call 562.570.4636. It is also recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a yearly flu vaccine. People may receive their flu shot at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccine or booster at all City-run COVID-19 vaccine sites.
The Health Department utilizes the CDC Community Levels to assess the impact of COVID-19 illness on health and healthcare systems. To determine the community level, a combination of three metrics are considered: new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days, new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 population in the past seven days, and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients. As of Dec. 8, COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population is 259.4, COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 population is 4.9, and 6.9% of staffed inpatient beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, putting Long Beach in the Medium (Yellow) Tier.
Many symptoms of COVID-19 resemble those of a cold, flu or allergies. Anyone experiencing congestion or a runny nose, the sniffles, sore throat, fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea should get tested for COVID-19 and otherwise stay home to prevent passing their illness onto others. Testing appointments can be made at longbeach.gov/covid19testing or by calling 562.570.4636.
Other respiratory viruses such as the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are currently circulating at higher rates than usual for this time of year. As of Dec. 8, a total of 1,841 cases of influenza, including four deaths, have been reported in Long Beach. Taking the steps described above will not only help you remain healthy this season, but also will help prevent the flu, RSV and COVID-19 from endangering those at high risk, such as older adults and young children.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep our residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity and @LBHealthDept on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People may also visit longbeach.gov/COVID19data for up-to-date information regarding cases and vaccines in Long Beach.