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Alhambra Steps Into “New Normal” With Death Toll Now Six; County Eyes Inequality

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis announces the opening of the new COVID-19 testing site at Cal State LA. Photo by J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA


Alhambra , CA

Friday was the first day of the next phase of the California – and Los Angeles County – reopening strategies. In the same breath, both state and local authorities are still strongly urging people to venture out carefully but still get tested.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that even though Californians are “chomping at the bit to return to some semblance of normalcy” the state will continue to move in conservative, science-driven easing of restrictions.

The last thing Newsom said he wants is for the state to rush the opening, resulting in massive second waves and slowing of the recovery from the pandemic.

However, Newsom also seemed hopeful that Californians will do their part to continue to keep the curve flattened but allow businesses to survive, and eventually thrive.

Alhambra and the surrounding area may be opening some businesses for the first time in weeks, but some did not survive.

Though car dealerships’ showrooms are one of the businesses allowed to open with physical distancing protocols, it has not come in time for some on Auto Row.

On April 10 Browning Mazda of Alhambra shuttered its doors permanently, moving cars off the lot in May, only continuing to operate its sister store at the Cerritos Auto Square location, according to a popup on its website.

Unemployment is much higher than is being reported, Newsom said and estimates the figure to be around 20%. The state will be grappling with that for a few years, he said.

Los Angeles County officials said at their midday briefing if you’re going to go to a trail or patronize one of the newly opened small businesses, make sure you know the requirements – always wear a face covering and keep at six feet of separation – and other regulations depending on the situation, which can be found on the Department of Public Health’s coronavirus page.

L.A. County’s list of businesses that are allowed to partially reopen on May 8, with modified operations. Via L.A. County Department of Public Health.

The county is also increasing its testing capacity in an effort to address the racial and economic inequalities that are becoming increasingly obvious as more data is collected.

The county has begun assembling a strategies report to document and plan a response with support from groups like the Black Equity Initiative, Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission and the Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Initiative.

Among those strategies includes more testing in undertested, minority population and high poverty areas.

One of the new testing sites is at Cal State Los Angeles. “It’s an important pillar to our community,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis during the press conference at the center, “it is here, in the very fabric, of what makes the county so great […] and the motto here at Cal State L.A. is, ‘We are L.A.’”

Solis also said the county is working hard to correct the disparities that “have been illuminated” by the pandemic.

“That includes equitable access to our COVID testing sites, and that is what brings us here today at Cal State L.A.,” she said.

The testing window at the site is significantly longer than the other mobile sites have been – and this one is indoor, not a drive through. The hours are Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Rongxiang Xu Bioscience Innovation Center, by appointment only.

“The testing sites allows Cal State L.A. to use its resources during this pandemic to help protect the health and safety of the public,” Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino said in a statement.

Other local testing opened early this week or next week will be at two ChapCare facilities  at 1595 N. Lake Ave in Pasadena, and 10408 Vacco St, Suite A in South El Monte.

To register for testing through the testing company OptumServe, go to their site. To register for tests through the county, go to their testing site.

With businesses allowed to partially reopen on May 8, L.A. County still has a Health Officer Order. Via L.A. County Department of Public Health.

To date, Alhambra has 110 confirmed cases with 6 deaths reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. There was no information on Alhambra’s fatalities or the dates or circumstances around their deaths, on the county site.

El Sereno has 112 cases with 14 deaths, Monterey Park has 95 cases with 3 deaths, Rosemead with 47 cases and 2 deaths, San Gabriel with 42 cases and 1 death, San Marino with 12 cases and no deaths, and South Pasadena with 100 cases and 13 deaths. Pasadena, which has its own health department, has 516 cases and 65 deaths.

South Pasadena has the highest death rate of all local cities, of 49.9 persons dying of COVID-19-related complications per 100,000 people. Pasadena’s death rate is 47 persons per 100,000 people. El Sereno is next, with 33.49.

Two numbers that illustrate the inequity in deaths between high and low-income areas can be seen in the skilled nursing facilities in South Pasadena’s South Pasadena Care Center, and El Sereno’s Huntington Healthcare Center.

The South Pasadena facility has 29 positive staff, 78 positive residents and 13 deaths. Huntington Healthcare Center has 19 positive staff, 22 positive residents and 12 deaths.

The infections at the affluent South Pasadena facility are 91 people, while the less-affluent El Sereno facility has 41 COVID-19 infections. Though there is a 50-person difference in infections, the death numbers are the same.

There is no more information available about these facilities, or the deaths, but the number is just one possible illustration of the county’s concerns.

The state is also formulating a plan for the November election, stating that every registered voter will receive a vote by mail ballot. The state is working on an in-person voting strategy for those who would prefer to vote at a polling place or vote center.

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Los Angeles County Department of Public Health page.

For all of the reporting from the Alhambra Source, go to our Stay Healthy page.

The Los Angeles County COVID-19 press briefing is streamed online at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, on the L.A. County Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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