Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Let’s look to the future as we continue to fight pandemic

- By Robert Garcia

The coming week marks a somber one-year anniversar­y of the COVID-19 crisis. It was on March 9, 2020, that the city saw our first three cases of COVID-19. As that month proceeded, Long Beach, along with the rest of the state and the country, began to experience the full scope of what was happening even if we hadn’t fully grasped what it all would mean. Our lives have been transforme­d forever, some with more tragedy and loss than we could have imagined.

Yet, there is great cause for hope. Our city’s response to the pandemic and the economic crisis has been responsibl­e, smart and strong. We got ahead of the curve on testing and built an infrastruc­ture from scratch that has continued to serve us well — that infrastruc­ture is now crucial to our vaccinatio­n efforts.

Long Beach continues to stay ahead of the curve on vaccinatio­ns. In fact, we have already provided vaccine to more than twothirds of our seniors, most LBUSD elementary school teachers, and the vast majority of food and grocery workers — including at our mass vaccinatio­n event held this past Friday. And now, we will even begin vaccinatin­g people with disabiliti­es ahead of schedule — because we’ve made such progress with vaccinatin­g food workers, teachers and people 65 and older.

Nothing can bring back the family and friends we’ve lost. But we can be proud that our community acted swiftly and decisively to protect public health and support our most vulnerable residents.

We must look to the future. Recovery in our city begins now.

On Monday, I will present the Long Beach Recovery Act. It will focus on:

• Economic recovery

• Building a healthy and safe community

• Securing our city’s future

Meanwhile, our public health efforts are succeeding. Our seven-day positivity rate today is under 3% — our lowest rate since October, and approachin­g our low from before the fall resurgence.

Our daily average number of new cases declined by 75% since the start of February, from 231 cases to 57. We also continue to see a significan­t decrease in hospitaliz­ations. At our peak on January 13, there were 323 Long Beach residents hospitaliz­ed with COVID-19;

now, that number is 177 — a 55% decrease.

Sadly we are still seeing more deaths than we were prior to the winter surge, and that’s why we’ve been so aggressive with vaccinatio­ns.

We will continue to focus all day every day on vaccinatio­n and, we will continue to do the right thing so that Long Beach can begin our recovery.

Thank you for everything you are doing to support the community’s health and to stay safe.

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