Long Beach health officials reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing the city’s total to 213.
No new deaths were reported, leaving the city’s total at three deaths — although one of those deaths occurred in Orange County.
Also Sunday, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said the city had almost completely emptied its animal shelter, with just six dogs and eight cats remaining as of Friday, thanks in part to increased efforts to promote fostering.
“People who foster an animal agree to take them into their home and give them love, care and attention, either for a predetermined period of time or until the animal is adopted,” he said. “Fostering animals gives them more time they might need to be adopted, helps socialize them to a home environment, and helps to understand them better so they are placed in the best forever home possible. Fostering is especially beneficial during the pandemic because the (city’s animal control staff) currently has few volunteers on site.”
“With Long Beach residents following the `Safer at Home’ order to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we recognized a greater opportunity for residents to foster shelter animals,” said Staycee Dains, manager of Long Beach Animal Care Services. “The community is continuing to do a great job by not bringing animals to us unless the animal is seriously sick or seriously injured or is attacking. The fact that our kennels are empty is unprecedented and we owe that to our hardworking and tireless staff, and rescue partners and our community.”
The city’s shelter is open by appointment only until further notice.
Back on the human front, the city has turned Long Beach Arena into a makeshift medical facility, and is setting up mobile triage units outside hospital emergency rooms, as the COVID-19 crisis floods hospitals with more patients than they will soon be ale to handle.
“We are doing everything in our power to prepare for the medical and hospital surge in the weeks ahead,” Garcia said Friday. “We’ve added hospital and clinic capacity by hundreds of beds and we will continue to do so.”
Officials said the “field hospital” in the arena hold about 100 beds, and is “ready to be activated if needed to remove pressure from area hospitals.”
Los Angeles officials performed a similar operation at that city’s convention center last week.
In addition, mobile hospital tents have been established outside of emergency rooms at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, St. Mary Medical Center and College Hospital to provide medical assessments and triage for individuals displaying mild to moderate symptoms of COVID-19.
Garcia said a no-cost, drive-through Rapid Assessment Clinic will open in cooperation with Los Angeles County next week at Long Beach City College’s Pacific Coast Campus.
That facility “will provide medical assistance to people who might otherwise feel compelled to visit an emergency room for their conditions. It will not provide treatment, take X-rays or fill prescriptions on-site, but will provide medical assessments and will renew and prescribe medications for people with routine health maintenance issues,” city officials said.
“People who have a cough, fever without rash, sore throat or moderate flu-like symptoms will be evaluated in a separate area and, based on their medical assessment, may be referred for testing for COVID-19,” they continued.
The facility will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week until further notice, beginning Monday.
The city’s most iconic structure, the Queen Mary, might also be pressed into action soon, according to multiple reports. Officials told CBSLA that the famed tourist attraction “remains in consideration” for emergency medical use, adding “we will have a plan to announce in the future.”