How Long Beach is preparing for the coronavirus

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- On Wednesday, the City of Long Beach declared a local health emergency out of precaution over the coronavirus.

"We have not had any COVID-19 cases up until this point, but it's really to become prepared," said Long Beach City Health Officer, Dr. Anissa Davis.

Long Beach is the seventh most populous city in the state of California and home to over 466,000 people. How is the city taking precautions regarding the coronavirus?

PORTS OF LONG BEACH AND LOS ANGELES
The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are two of the busiest in the country, with more than 90% of the foreign trade routes being from East Asia.

"There have been a lot of studies about how long the virus actually lives on cargo," said Dr. Davis. "At our port, it takes about two weeks for something to get from China to here, so the virus is not viable by the time it gets here."

Dr. Davis mentioned that the Coast Guard and the quarantine station are being conservative regarding people at the Port of Long Beach.

"As of right now, my understanding is that they don't get off the boat," she said.

LONG BEACH AIRPORT
In 2019, over 3.6 million passengers traveled through the Long Beach Airport.

"We've stepped up our cleaning protocols and we are hourly disinfecting and cleaning regularly touched surfaces," said Long Beach Airport spokesperson, Kate Kuykendall.

Kuykendall mentioned that the airport has ordered more hand sanitizer stations. She said that the airport has not seen a recent decrease in flights or service.

"One of the good things about the Long Beach Airport is that they're not an international airport, so they're not getting people directly from these affected countries," said Davis.

PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

Long Beach has a growing population of people experiencing homelessness.

As of right now, Dr. Davis said the Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating with the Multi Service Center, the city's homeless services facility, regarding coronavirus concerns.

"We are working with the homeless services center to be able to transport patients in a safe way if we needed to quarantine people experiencing homelessness," said Davis.

Long Beach has been approved to begin testing patients for the coronavirus, but test kits have not arrived just yet.

"Long Beach is in a unique position because we have our own city-based health department so we can be a little bit more nimble to our population's needs," said Davis. "We know our population well."
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