Long Beach Community Hospital reopens to help with coronavirus outbreak

Group of unused empty hospital beds on corridor waiting to be used for patients. (Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Long Beach officials reported one new case of coronavirus on Saturday, brining the city's total to 15.

Long Beach has its own health department, and officials there said Saturday that about 140 people were being monitored for possible symptoms of the virus, while four previous patients have recovered.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Community Hospital of Long Beach --which closed its doors in 2018 -- would begin accepting transfer patients from other hospitals to relieve overcrowding associated with the pandemic. The facility has a capacity of 158 beds and was supposed to begin accepting
patients Saturday, but that date proved a little too optimistic.

RELATED: CoronavirusNOW.com, FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates. 

"We are working around the clock to finalize the arrival of patients from local hospitals and to ensure that we have the necessary staffing, equipment and medical supplies to guarantee their safety and care,'' Brandon Dowling, a spokesman for the company handling the building, told the Long Beach
Press-Telegram on Saturday.

"We will not be accepting patients today, however we expect to start accepting transfer patients in the coming days.''

Meanwhile, city officials are clarifying the businesses that qualify as essential under the city's stay-at-home order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and among the ones that do not are personal grooming services.

"We are working with the state to provide additional clarity and guidance to their `Safer at Home' order and to align our local Long Beach order,'' Mayor Robert Garcia said Friday. "Among other things, this update clarifies that barber shops, hair and nail salons are non-essential businesses in our `Safer at Home' order.''

Among the nonessential businesses are:

-- Hair salons/barber shops
-- Nail salons
-- Waxing services
-- Cosmetology
-- Spa services, such as facials, massages, and body scrubs
-- Electrolysis
-- Gyms and fitness centers

The city also announced Saturday that a job center would remain open with limited hours to assist families, workers and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The WorkPLace job center is located at 4811 Airport Plaza Dr., Ste. 120. Information sessions will take place from 9-11 a.m. weekdays. In accordance with social distancing protocols, orientations will be limited to nine individuals, while one-on-one counseling sessions will take place by phone.

More information is available at www.pacific-gateway.org.

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