Long Beach saw across-the-board decreases in its coronavirus metrics this week — though city health officials once again cautioned residents to remain proactive as new virus variants circulate.
The health department reported 513 new coronavirus cases over the past week, according to data posted to the city’s COVID-19 dashboard on Friday, Jan. 13, a decrease from the 1,009 reported the week prior.
The total number of cases since the pandemic began was 160,209 as of Thursday, Jan. 12. The latest data is through Thursday, but the city posted that information to its dashboard on Friday.
“Although cases are not increasing, hospitalizations and deaths have increased,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a Friday statement. “There are new omicron subvariants currently circulating which may have the potential to cause cases to increase again — so it is important to continue to be mindful and protect yourself and your loved ones by practicing good hand hygiene and staying up-to-date with COVID-19 and flu vaccination.”
Long Beach’s community transmission tier — as defined by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — has remained in the low category since late December, after a two-week elevation to the medium tier when the city’s weekly average COVID-19 case rate topped 200 per 100,000 people.
That metric totaled 154.3 per 100,000 people this week, according to the Friday data, down from the 173.5 reported last week — keeping Long Beach squarely the low transmission category.
The city’s daily case rate was 8.1 per 100,000 people this week, the data shows, a decrease from 14.3 the previous week. Long Beach’s positivity rate also decreased to 8.4% this week, from 12.4% last week.
The two other metrics used to determine community transmission — the seven-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions and the proportion of in-patient beds occupied by those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in hospitals — also dropped in Long Beach over the last week, according to the data.
Weekly hospitalizations must meet or exceed 20 per 100,000 people, and 15% or more of in-patient beds must be occupied by those with COVID-19 for a city to be moved into the “high” designation, per the CDC’s website.
In Long Beach, the weekly rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions totaled 5.1 per 100,000, as of Thursday, down from 8.8 per 100,000 reported last week. The proportion of in-patient beds occupied by those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Long Beach-area hospitals was 6.8%, down from 7.2% last week, according to city data.
Though the number of COVID-19-positive Long Beach residents in hospitals declined to 20 this week, the city’s hospitalization rates remain elevated over.
Long Beach has reported 124 COVID-19-related hospitalizations since mid-December, Davis said.
Long Beach’s COVID-19 death rate has also been higher than usual over the past month.
There were six COVID-19-related deaths in Long Beach over the past week, bringing the citywide death toll since the pandemic began to 1,362 as of Thursday. There have been 15 coronavirus deaths since the same mid-December period, Davis added.
“Deaths and hospitalizations are subject to a reporting lag,” the city health officer said. “Therefore, numbers may increase as new data is received and entered. Vaccination and early treatment can reduce disease severity and lower hospitalizations and deaths.”
COVID-19 inoculation rates in Long Beach, though, have remained largely stagnant for months, despite the health department frequently encouraging residents to stay up-to-date on their shots.
Children aged 5-to-11 remain among the least vaccinated in the city, with 28.8% fully inoculated. That number hasn’t changed in more than two months. Those 65 and older, meanwhile, are the most vaccinated, with a 99% inoculation rate. Only 16.2% of Long Beach residents have received a bivalent booster.