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California

2 Cal State Long Beach students test positive for coronavirus; city reports its first death

People continue to walk, ride bicycles and play basketball at Junipero Beach in Long Beach
People continue to walk, ride bicycles and play basketball at Junipero Beach in Long Beach during the coronavirus lockdown on March 22, 2020.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Two Cal State Long Beach students tested positive for the coronavirus and are in self-isolation off campus, the university announced in an email to students Tuesday morning.

The announcement comes on the heels of the city of Long Beach confirming its first COVID-19 fatality on Monday as the total number of cases rose to 19.

One of the infected students has not been on campus for two weeks, the university said. In the second case, public health officials determined there was no opportunity for on-campus exposure.

Students who may have come into close contact with the students are being notified by health officials, according to the email. “While it was to be expected that The Beach family eventually would be affected by this pandemic, we were saddened to hear this news,” Kimberly Fodran, codirector of student health services and chief of medical staff, wrote in the email.

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“It is a sober signal that the impact of this illness will be felt widely. It is critically important that everyone adheres to all the social distancing measures and practice good public health hygiene, including washing hands as frequently as possible.”

Students were reminded to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently, avoid touching their faces, maintain physical distance from others and disinfect frequently touched items at home.

Cal State Long Beach and all 22 other campuses in the CSU system have suspended in-person classes and will continue instruction by internet for the rest of the semester. Spring commencement and related cultural celebrations have been postponed “until after the pandemic crisis,” the university said on its website.

A San Diego State student who had been studying abroad in Italy and returned to the San Diego area also tested positive for the virus earlier this month, authorities said. The student is self-isolating at his permanent residence outside San Diego County, the university said. His three housemates are also self-quarantining, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The student visited two on-campus offices after his return from Italy but did not attend any classes. The university was completing a “thorough, hospital-grade cleaning” of the offices and contacting the few individuals who may have had contact with the student, a note from university President Adela de la Torre and interim medical director Rory Brening to the campus community said.

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A student at San Jose State has also tested positive for COVID-19. The university said the off-campus student is recovering at home.

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Long Beach officials said the patient who died was a woman in her 50s with underlying health problems.

“We’ve been dreading this day and were hoping it would never come,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends and loved ones. We all mourn this incredible loss to our community.”

The 19 cases the city has currently diagnosed range from mild to very severe, officials said.


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