Health Department Prepares for COVID-19

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) continues to prepare for cases of COVID-19, previously known as novel coronavirus.

Since December 2019, there have been more than 80,000 cases globally, with more than 2,700 deaths reported. A large majority of the cases (97%) have occurred in mainland China. Initially, the virus originated in Wuhan, Hubei province, China and the virus has since spread across over 30 countries globally.

In the U.S., there have been 15 cases reported, nine of which are in California. In addition, there have been dozens of cases of COVID-19 among U.S. residents who were repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China, and from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship in Japan, where an outbreak occurred onboard.

Locally, there have been no cases of COVID-19 reported in Long Beach, and one case each in Los Angeles and Orange County. There is no sustained community transmission occurring in the U.S. currently.

On February 2, 2020, the Health Department began monitoring travelers returning from mainland China for 14 days after arrival to ensure they do not develop symptoms of COVID-19. Those who are undergoing monitoring are required to avoid school, work, and are asked to stay at home for the duration of the two weeks. The Health department has monitored or is currently monitoring a total of nine Long Beach individuals at this time. No one undergoing active monitoring has developed symptoms.

Coronaviruses primarily cause respiratory illness in people, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Severe illness can lead to pneumonia and in very rare cases, death. Those most at risk of these complications include older adults and those with underlying health conditions. Most infected people will develop mild illness and will recover within two weeks.

There is currently no treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Transmission from an infected person to others can occur through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, or touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, followed by touching your mouth or eyes before washing your hands.

The Health Department continues to closely monitor the situation and is in constant communication with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), local hospital emergency departments, urgent care centers and local providers to obtain and provide the most updated guidance.

The Health Department urges individuals to disclose any recent travel to China to their providers if they develop symptoms such as fever or respiratory symptoms, and providers are urged to ask patients about their travel history and report any suspected cases of COVID-19 to the Health Department immediately.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit

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