Dayzsha Lino, Editorial Intern
On April 20, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and the Long Beach Health Department hosted a town hall meeting to discuss city efforts to provide testing and health care in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. The mayor also discussed how the City of Long Beach will go about reopening non-essential businesses.
As of 1 p.m. April 30, 667 Long Beach residents have tested positive for COVID-19, 36 people have died, and 402 have recovered, according to the city’s website.
Meanwhile, Long Beach has been ramping up its testing efforts. Garcia said testing capacity has tripled in the past week, giving the city the ability to conduct 500 tests a day.
Long Beach drive-thru testing sites are at Jordan High School, Cabrillo High School, St. Mary Hospital and Long Beach City College-Pacific Coast Campus.
Garcia also mentioned that the Long Beach Fire Department put together a Mobile Assessment Team, which will transport individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19, or need emergency assistance that is unrelated to COVID-19 to a local hospital for medical treatment.
“It’s a way to have a specialized trained fire unit, and in a way that limits exposure to folks and patients that may have COVID-19 with others,” Garcia said. “So it protects our paramedics, the firefighters, the public and, of course, our hospitals and health departments as well.”
As the coronavirus continues to cause economic downfall, people in many states have taken to the streets to protest government stay-at-home orders. Discussions regarding the appropriate time and conditions for reopening non-essential businesses are ongoing among federal officials, state governors — including California Gov. Gavin Newsom — and the mayors and councils of cities.
When asked about reopening the economy in Long Beach, Garcia said it would have to be based completely on the advice of medical professionals and scientists.
“The truth is that right now in California, as it relates to our stay-at-home orders, to me the science and data is very clear: people need to stay at home,” Garcia said. “Cases have continued to rise; hospitalizations continue to increase, we continue to have folks out there that have not yet been tested, or not yet symptomatic and have been spreading the virus.”
Garcia is also aware of rumors that there are plans for a protest of Long Beach’s stay-at-home orders. In that event, he said the city would continue to enforce its current health orders. He also asks that those questioning the current health orders be mindful of those around them amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“We all have a right to give our opinions and make how we feel known,” Garcia said, “but I would ask that every single person should be considering and think about the people and workers in our hospitals, our nurses, our paramedics, our firefighters, our doctors, and the patients who are pleading with us to do the right thing and stay home and not cause further spread of COVID-19.”
For testing appointments: 562-570-INFO