Long Beach reached a grim milestone on Friday, passing 10,000 reported COVID-19 cases and 200 deaths since the start of the pandemic this year.
The city reported 10,016 cases, up from 9,930 on Thursday, with 74 people hospitalized. Long Beach saw one additional death, for 201 fatalities. Of those, 133 are connected to long-term care facilities.
The city reported a seven-day positivity rate (the number of positive tests compared to overall tests) of 7.8%, which is down from previous weeks.
City health officials this week said Long Beach is inching closer to meeting the state’s COVID-19 indicators for reopening, but more time is needed.
While the positivity rate is below the state’s required 8%, the city is still at a 14-day average case rate of 184 cases per 100,000 residents, which is higher than the state goal of 100.
Los Angeles County’s chief medical officer, meanwhile, warned that high blood pressure and diabetes are the most common underlying ailments in coronavirus patients who have died.
“About 5,500 persons have passed away from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and you can see that nearly 3,000 … had hypertension and over 2,000—a big proportion of the deaths—had diabetes,” Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser said Thursday.
Roughly 92% of people who have died in the county from COVID-19 had some type of underlying health condition. In addition to hypertension and diabetes, other common conditions included cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, chronic renal disease, obesity, asthma and liver disease.
Gunzenhauser noted that some people who died from the virus had more than one underlying condition.
“When you think about these diseases, you should realize these are very common,” he said. “Hypertension is extremely common in the elderly, and the majority of persons over 65 may have that condition. There could be over 10% of adults in county with diabetes.”
Gunzenhauser noted that while most people who died from COVID-19 and had an underlying condition were over age 65, nearly one-fourth of them were aged 41-64 and about 3% were between 18 and 40.
“People may look at the percentages and think they’re not at risk, but when you realize the millions of people in Los Angeles County that are in these age groups, even a small percent, like 3 or 5%, represents an awful lot of people,” he said. “The point is everyone is at risk.”
—City News Service contributed to this report