|(December 16, 2020, 5:25 a.m.) -- As displayed on LBREPORT.com's front page COVID-19 dashboard, City of Long Beach Dec. 15 released data show the City's seven day (smoothed) positivity rate (percentage of tests coming out positive) has risen to 12.1% from 11.5%, 10,7%, 10.2%, 9.9%, 9.3%, 7.25%, 6.8%, and 6.4% from previous 7 day positivity rates. The City's Seven day case rate per 100,000 population has also risen steeply to 88.7 from 81.1, 74.1, 68.3, 50.3, 46.5, 39.8, and 36.7 in preceding days. Total LB deaths are now at 302 up from 295.
As previously reported by LNREPORT.com, the City of Long Beach -- LA County's second largest city -- is blocking public and press access to the City's daily positivity rate, offering only a 7-day numerically smoothed figure diluted by older (superceded and thus stale) data from nearly a week earlie.
The higher the positivity rate, the more likely the virus is circulating in higher numbers. By concealing that daily figure, the City is offering the public only a single figure likely lower in real time.
To our knowledge, nothing leglly prevents the City of Long Beach (with its own indeopendently run Health Dept.) from publicly listing BOTH figures: the City smoothed 7-day positive rate alongside the daily (real world) COVID-19 positive test results;
The City doesn't deny having the daily positivity rate figure. On December 3 and 4, LBREPORT.com asked Long Beach city management's Joint Information Center to provide us with the most recent daily positivity rate figure. On December 10, the City's Joint Information Center provided us with the following response from the City's Communicable Disease Control Program Supervisor.; Emily Holman, MSc. (who answers to Dr. Davis.)
"The city no longer examines the daily positivity rate, as that number is too unstable and can provide false conclusions. The 7-day average is both timely and more stable and thus, more accurate."
This statement doesn't contend the City can't provide both figures -- the "7 day positivity rate" alongside the daily positivity figure -- so the public can compare them (with or without accompanying City analysis.)
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City management and most Councilmembers have defended or accepted Dr. Davis' decisions re LB restaurants (prior to their preemption by Governor Gavin Newsom's order) as within her Health Officer medical role..but that's not so when it comes to blocking the public qnd the press from accessing timely numerical data.
LBREPORT.com publisher Bill Pearl states: "We are unaware of any legal authority allowing Dr. Davis or her subordinate to censor, sanitize, downplay or otherwise block public and press access to timely COVID-related numerical data."p>Publisher Pearl urged City Manager Modica to reconsider current policy and direct his Health Officer through her subordinate to release the City's daily positivity rate numerical information. "If City Manager Modica declines to do so, LBREPORT.com urges the City Council to direct the City Manage to do so.
"This is timely numerical information that Councilmembers' constituents and the public have a right to know," LBREPORT.com publisher Pearl said.
Mr. Pearl added:
"Knowledge is power. By blocking public and press access to timely daily COVID-19 positivity rate data, the City is disempowering the public. It's usurping the public's right to access timely numerical data, offering only diluted figures. LBREPORT.com objects.."
Mr. Pearl has invited other LB media outlets, reporters and editorial writers to join LBREPORT.com in publicly urging a change in current city policy on the matter.
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