Long Beach joins LA County in ‘low’ level of COVID-19 transmission – Press Telegram

Long Beach’s COVID-19 cases hit a new low this week for the first time in months, Department of Health and Human Services officials said, officially returning the city to the “low” level of community transmission. of the federal government.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that our numbers will continue to hold up,” city health officer Dr. Anissa Davis said in a Friday, Sept. 2 statement, “and we will monitor any effects that return to school and to Labor Day holiday weekend may have on transmission.

The city reported 680 new coronavirus cases in the past week, a decrease from the previous week and the second week in a row new cases were below 1,000 – after failing to drop below four digits for months.

Over the past two weeks, Long Beach has reported 1,544 new cases, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 149,423, according to city data as of Thursday, Sept. 1, which was updated Friday.

The city’s average daily case rate, according to the data, has also declined. That metric hit 11.4 per 100,000 people this week, down from 12.9 last week. Long Beach’s test positivity rate also fell on Thursday, totaling 9.8%.

Along with a decline in reported new infections, Long Beach’s seven-day average case rate fell below the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention threshold of 200 per 100,000 population this week, prompting the city ​​to be redesignated in the low transmission category.

Los Angeles County announced Thursday that it has also moved to low transmission.

The average number of weekly COVID-19 cases in the city stood at 186 per 100,000, up from 192 reported last week.

The CDC uses two other metrics, in addition to the average weekly case rate, to determine a city’s level of community transmission: new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the past seven days, and the percentage of inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19. -positive patients.

Those data points also declined from Thursday, Davis said.

Last week, however, average weekly hospitalizations totaled 3.9 per 100,000 population – well below the CDC’s high transmission threshold, and a significant decrease from the 8.4 per 100,000 people reported two years ago. weeks.

Long Beach hospital beds, meanwhile, were occupied by COVID-19 positive patients at a rate of 4.8% last week – which also fell below the CDC’s 10% threshold for a high transmittance.

“We’ll have to continue to monitor the days and weeks ahead,” Davis said, “to see if this remains consistent and stable over time.”

The total number of Long Beach residents in hospitals with COVID-19 remained unchanged this week, totaling 22. The number of COVID-19 positive patients in Long Beach area hospitals remained at 38 for three months.

The city reported one new coronavirus-related death this week – up from four the previous week. The five Long Beach residents who have died from the virus in the past two weeks brought the city’s total since the pandemic began to 1,318.

Davis encouraged residents to practice COVID-19 mitigation measures to keep transmission of the virus low, especially since the Long Beach Unified School District kicked off its new year on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and the holiday Labor has arrived.

COVID-19 metrics typically lag major events that cause people to come together by a few weeks.

“We continue to recommend practicing common sense preventative measures,” Davis said, “as we enter the fall and back-to-school season.”

Long Beach’s vaccination rates have been flat for weeks — with numbers in each age group increasing only slightly.

That may soon change, however, as the Food and Drug Administration approved its first COVID-19 vaccine booster dose update on Wednesday.

The new boosters – which have been modified to specifically provide protection against coronavirus variants, including omicron BA.4 and BA.5 – will only be available to people who have already received their primary doses.

The new Pfizer BioNTech boosters will be available to anyone 12 years of age and older, while the updated doses of Moderna have only been approved for adults at least two months away from their last primary vaccination or reminder.

Last week, Long Beach also expanded Novavax eligibility to residents age 12 and older.

Novavax uses a more traditional protein-based design, as opposed to mRNA-based coronavirus vaccines such as those offered by Modern and Pfizer-BioNTech. The vaccine, however, is given in a series of two doses like other coronavirus vaccines.

“The technology used in Novavax has been widely used in FDA-approved vaccines for decades,” said a Long Beach press release from last week. “In addition, Novavax offers an alternative for those who may be allergic to mRNA vaccines.”

As it stands, however, 70.6% of all residents had been fully vaccinated, of which about 78% had received at least one dose according to Thursday’s data. Another 38% had received a booster shot.

And 81% of all adults in Long Beach were fully immunized as of Thursday, with 46.6% having had a booster.

Among 5- to 11-year-olds, 26.6% were fully vaccinated as of Thursday, including 4.5% who had received a third dose. Vaccination data for children under 5 years old were not yet available.

About 76% of people aged 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated as of Thursday. Of this age group, just over 23% had received a reminder.

People between the ages of 18 and 34 remain the least vaccinated adult age group in Long Beach, according to Thursday’s data. About 76% of those residents had received at least one dose, with about 67% fully vaccinated and about 30% boosted.

Long Beach’s elderly population, meanwhile, remains the city’s most protected group — 99% of adults ages 65 and older are fully vaccinated and nearly 80% had received a first booster as of Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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