Long Beach’s coronavirus metrics remained relatively stable this week — with slight increases in certain categories — keeping the city in the low community transmission tier.
Despite the small scale of those increases, though, local health officials continued to caution against a potential winter surge of COVID-19 as global cases continue to tick upwards.
“Historically, we have seen that whatever is happening in Europe,” City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a Friday, Oct. 28, statement, “is a harbinger for what might come to the U.S.”
European health officials, in an Oct. 12 statement, said they’d identified indicators that another COVID-19 surge on that continent had begun — noting that both residents and health agencies “should not let our guard down.”
In the U.S., Davis said, several factors — aside from the global rise in cases — are at play that could ultimately culminate in another winter surge here. Those include the gradual rise of other omicron subvariants domestically, along with rising instances of the flu.
This flu season marks the U.S.’ worst in nearly a decade, according to data the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted on Friday. Since the start of flu season this year, there have been at least 880,000 illnesses, 7,000 hospitalizations and 360 deaths, according to the CDC.
The recent prevalence of respiratory syncytial virus — which typically causes cold symptoms but can cause severe disease in infants and older people — is also “straining hospital capacity,” Davis said.
And with omicron subvariant BA.5 beginning to lose its stronghold among Los Angeles County’s and Long Beach’s caseloads, other, more vaccine-evasive variants could begin to increase.
“All of these factors highlight the need to get vaccinated for influenza, get the updated bivalent COVID booster if you’re eligible, practice good hand hygiene, stay home when you’re sick,” Davis said, “and considering wearing a mask in crowded indoor public places.”
As it stands, though, Long Beach’s metrics remained relatively unchanged from the data reported last week.
Long Beach reported 191 new coronavirus cases this week, as of Thursday, Oct. 28, down slightly from 272 reported the week before. The total number of cases since the pandemic began, according to city data, was 152,515 as of Thursday.
The data is through Thursday, but the city posted the latest information to its COVID-19 dashboard on Friday.
The city’s daily case rate was 4.4 per 100,000 people this week, down from 6.1 the week before, the data shows. The seven-day case rate, meanwhile, sat at 57.2 per 100,000.
The positivity rate was 4.5%, as of Thursday.
The number of Long Beach residents who were hospitalized and had tested positive for COVID-19 rose to 14, as of Thursday, according to city data, up from nine reported last week.
The seven-day rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions increased, from 1.1 per 100,000 people last week to 2.3 this week. The proportion of in-patient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients in Long Beach-area hospitals was 2.4%, according to city data, down marginally from the week prior.
The city reported three COVID-19-related deaths in Long Beach this week. The citywide death toll since the pandemic began was 1,336, as of Thursday.
Long Beach’s health officials have repeatedly encouraged residents to take precautionary measures to further prevent coronavirus spread, including wearing a mask for 10 days if exposed to or infected with the virus and staying home when sick.
Coronavirus vaccine rates in Long Beach have remained largely flat for months — with some age groups taking weeks to budge several basis points.
Children aged 5-to-11 remain among the least vaccinated, with 28.8% fully inoculated. That number hasn’t increased in nearly a month. Those 65 and older, meanwhile, are the most vaccinated, with a 99% inoculation rate.
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