Long Beach officials reported one more death from coronavirus Sunday, raising the city’s death toll to 22, while the number of confirmed cases in the city rose by eight to 457.
All 22 of the deaths were people with underlying health conditions.
Fifty people are currently hospitalized with the virus, and 243 people have recovered, according to city officials.
Long Beach and Pasadena are the only two cities in Los Angeles County that have their own health departments.
In response to the pandemic, Long Beach has now created a new Mobile Assessment Team specifically assigned to transport individuals with confirmed positive results or positive screenings of COVID-19, in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 to other patients, hospital staff and first responders. The team will be staffed 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
“This new mobile team will ensure that we are containing the spread of COVID-19 as best as possible and I’m grateful to our Fire Department for creating this new unit,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said.
The MAT, which consists of two LBFD paramedics and one ambulance, will respond from central locations within the city to facilitate a rapid response. The team also provides patient assessments, treatment and transportation to local area hospitals as needed, in accordance with Los Angeles County emergency medical services protocols.
“The Mobile Assessment Team is a proactive effort to manage the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The creation of this unit enhances our capabilities and provides an additional resource during this public health crisis,” Long Beach Fire Chief Xavier Espino said.
A positive screening is based on a list of questions about symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, coughing or flu-like symptoms. Dispatch provides this information to the MAT, who will then don the appropriate personal protective equipment and use caution while treating and transporting patients.
After each patient transport, the team will replace used equipment and conduct necessary sanitizing procedures for both staff and equipment. This sanitation process will be completed at a pre-designated location to mitigate any potential spread to other facilities, equipment and materials.
The Mobile Assessment Team will remain in effect until further notice.
In an another development, three new sites have begun offering drive-through COVID-19 testing in Long Beach, and the city’s Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a new website and introduced an interactive data dashboard over the weekend to provide transparency to residents.
The new testing sites opened Saturday at Cabrillo and Jordan high schools and St. Mary Medical Center, city officials announced.
The website now features an interactive data dashboard that provides the public with information regarding positive cases, hospitalizations, demographic breakdowns and more. The city says it will allow the public to see more granular data than previously released and now provides city comparisons among other jurisdictions. The dashboard is updated as new information comes in, to provide the most up-to-date information available.
“We need to be transparent and release as much data and information to the public as possible,” said Garcia. “Our new dashboard and website give the public real-time information about the COVID19 crisis.”
The redesigned website features content located in a more intuitive interface with simplified text and image-based graphics. Information has been curated specifically for the general public, businesses, health care providers and those who serve high-risk populations, according to a statement from the city.
The site also includes commonly accessed content such as COVID-19 symptoms and prevention, and information about the Long Beach City Health Officer’s Orders, along with daily case counts and updates. Testing information and appointment scheduling is also featured for the five testing locations within the city, the statement said.
A Long Beach Police Department officer, currently assigned to the Investigations Bureau, tested positive for COVID-19 and is in stable condition and recovering at home in self-isolation.
The officer is the department’s second to test positive. The city says it is only publicly reporting the case numbers associated with Long Beach first responders and employees on the front lines of this pandemic who have daily, significant interactions with community members. Cases involving other city employees are not publicly reported.
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