City of Long Beach Holds Online Forum About Black Residents, Covid-19

Written by on April 28, 2020

By Manny Otiko 

Pastor Gregory Sanders

The City of Long Beach held an online forum to address the high number of coronavirus cases in the African-American community on Sunday. The forum included Pastor Gregory Sanders of the Long Beach Ministers Alliance, city council members, City Manager Tom Modica and local healthcare experts. 

Dr. Anissa Davis, Long Beach Health officer, gave a breakdown of the local numbers of covid-19 cases. She stated that (as of April 26) 576 local people had tested positive for the disease and 31 people had died.  However, 334 people had recovered from the disease. According to Davis, many of the cases had been discovered in long-term care facilities. 

Dr. Anissa Davis with Mayor Robert Garcia on the right

Davis also stated that although African Americans are 12 percent of the local population, they made up 15 percent of the local positive cases. She attributed this to the fact that many African Americans also suffer from illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes, which increase the chances of the disease turning fatal. 

Dr. Thelma Bryant Davis

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a Pepperdine University professor and mental health practitioner, also gave a presentation on how people can take care of themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. She said being isolated at home has led to an increase in depression, anxiety and even domestic violence. 

“Those who are quarantined are not always quarantined with people who are safe,” she said.

She also said that it was important to take care of our emotional health during the pandemic and warned people to be watchful for addictive behavior and even overeating to cope with stress. She also said the coronavirus will cause many people to deal with grief. 

“It’s more likely we know someone who has lost their life,” she said. 

She added that it was important that African Americans also seek the help of mental health professionals as they process their emotions during the crisis. 

“The pandemic is a form of trauma,” she said. 

Another featured speaker on the panel was local resident Jacquelyn Brown-Holmes, who survived the disease. She first came down with a cough in January, but this led to breathing problems. She was eventually diagnosed with covid-19 and told to quarantine at home. During her bout with the disease, she lost her sense of taste and smell, but those have returned. 

However, Brown-Holmes’ daughter also came down with disease and has been hospitalized for more than 30 days (Her daughter recently left the Intensive Care Unit.)  Brown-Holmes also lost a relative in New York to the coronavirus.  She urged other African Americans to take the disease seriously. 

“We should not take this virus lightly,” she said. “Please follow the stay-at-home orders.”

The city of Long Beach now has three covid-19 testing centers. For more local information about the coronavirus go to www.longbeach.gov/covid19 or call 562-570-4636. 


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