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COVID-19 Now Leading Cause of Death in L.A. County; 6 Fatalities at El Sereno Facility

Specimen collection at the San Gabriel Valley Airport in El Monte. Photo by Los Angeles County via Supervisor Hilda Solis.

Location

Alhambra , CA

Noting that coronavirus is now the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County, Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer reported 68 new fatalities overnight bringing the mortality toll in the country from the virus to 797.

Of the 68 deaths reported Thursday, 51 were over the age of 65 and 11 who died were between 41 and 65 and three people were between the ages of 18 and 40. Fifty one of the 68 deaths were among people with underlying health conditions.

Ferrer also reported that 1,081 new cases of the virus have been confirmed. This brings the number of cases in Los Angeles County to 17,508 of which, 4,053 or 24% of the total, have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.

Deaths in institutional settings, mainly skilled nursing facilities, now account for 310 of the county’s deaths, or 39% of the total. There have been 3,343 cases reported in institutional settings. At present, 26 skilled nursing facilities have reported 20 or more positive cases. 

Ferrer said that testings for COVID-19 at all nursing homes has begun and that she hoped to have more comprehensive information on the number of cases in such facilities by the middle of next week.

And for the first time Thursday, the county began reporting the number of deaths at individual skilled nursing facilities. Huntington Healthcare Center in El Sereno reported six deaths and the South Pasadena Care Center had three deaths to date. South Pasadena has the highest case count in the West SGV with 37 residents and 16 staff. 

Many of the deaths in Pasadena, which has a total of 28 fatalities from COVID-19 as reported by its health department, have come in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities. According to the Pasadena Public Health dashboard the median age at death was 85. Pasadena has tested 895 people and 274, or 30.6%,  have come back positive.

In detailing the grim numbers associated with the pandemic, Ferrer noted that on April 12, the average number of daily deaths in L.A. County from COVID-19 numbered 31. That average is now up to 44.

COVID-19 has surpassed heart disease, cancer and COPD as the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County, Ferrer said. And in the context of the flu, she said that during the height of a flu season, the average number of deaths in Los Angeles County is five a stark contrast to the current numbers from coronavirus.

Ferrer spoke of testing capacity in Los Angeles County and noted that there are still plenty of slots available at the 35 mobile test sites in Los Angeles County. She also said the county was working to embed more testing sites at medical providers to increase capacity.

In comments Thursday and on Wednesday, Ferrer stressed that those who have concerns about finding out that they have the disease should know that the county offers help and support for individuals with limited means who have COVID-19. She also noted that the test information is secure and only used by the County Department of Health Services to help treat the afflicted. Individual data is not shared with any other agency.

To register for a test, call the Department of Public Health at 213 240-7941. For those without vehicles some  testing for those arriving on foot is available but an appointment is still necessary.

As of Thursday’s briefing, 98,000 residents of LA County have been tested and 14% of those tests have come back positive.

Related to testing was the subject of contact-tracing for those who have tested positive. Ferrer said while it was a challenge in a county that has a population of 10 million and is larger than some states, the Department of Public Health has been successful in reaching between 80% and 90% of those testing positive.

The DPH interviews positive cases to ascertain who they have come into contact with recently and those persons are contacted, informed and required by law to quarantine. 

As was the case in Wednesday’s briefing, county officials including Chairwomen Pro-Tem Hilda Solis and Ferrer noted that with unusually warm weather upon us, it is not the time to forsake social distancing in favor of mass gatherings at beaches, parks and on trails.

Ferrer on Wednesday also pleaded with county residents not to go to Ventura or Orange Counties, which may have relaxed some of their restrictions concerning outdoor activity and risk bringing coronavirus home from the beach. She encouraged residents to enjoy their yards and stay safe and to drink plenty of water.

In answer to a question on reopening businesses, Ferrer observed that the virus has a 14-day incubation period so while a business may open today, it might be early May before any trace of COVID-19 becomes apparent.

In Wednesday’s briefing, Dr. Christina Ghaly, the director of Director of the County Department of Health Services, offered computer models showing a stark increase in COVID-19 cases into August if social distancing and “Safer at Home” restrictions are lifted.

Ferrer also spoke of the challenge in testing those who may have died in December or January to see if they had coronavirus. She noted that just 10% of the death’s in the county are handled by the medical examiner’s office making it problematic to get an accurate reading on the timeline of COVID-19 deaths. But, she noted, the coroner’s office, which is not under her jurisdiction, is doing what it can to trace these deaths. 

Solis announced that an Economic Resiliency Task Force was being created to assess how best to reported the Los Angeles County economy while also saving jobs and businesses.

She addressed the mounting food security issue among those who have recently lost jobs or were already struggling with food security noting that the county has services to help those  in need. Check our listing to services toward the end of the story for resource information.

The breakdown by community, plus Health Department confirmed institutional settings with one or more cases:

Here are some of the case numbers presented by the L.A. County Health Department press release:

  • In the last 24 hours: 68 deaths; 1,081 cases
  • Total deaths: 797 (including Pasadena’s 28 deaths and Long Beach’s 27)
  • Total cases: 17,508

The breakdown by community, plus Health Department confirmed institutional settings with one or more cases:

  • Alhambra: 65
    • Alhambra Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP
      • 3 confirmed staff; 1 confirmed resident
    • Royal Gardens Extended Care
      • 3 confirmed staff
  • Arcadia: 34
    • Arcadia Gardens Retirement Hotel
      • 2 confirmed staff; 1 confirmed resident
    • Santa Anita Convalescent Hospital
      • 8 confirmed staff; 15 confirmed resident; 2 death
  • Boyle Heights: 134
    • Hollenbeck Palms
      • Under investigation
  • El Monte: 107
    • Eastland Subacute & Rehabilitation Center
      • Under investigation
    • Idle Acre Sanitarium & Convalescent Hospital (Gardens of El Monte)
      • 1 confirmed staff
    • Mayflower Care Center
      • Under investigation
    • Ramona Nursing & Rehabilitation
      • 2 confirmed resident
  • El Sereno: 74
    • Huntington Healthcare Center
      • 8 positive staff; 21 confirmed resident; 6 death
  • Unincorporated East L.A.: 271
    • Buena Ventura Post Acute Care Center
      • 8 confirmed staff; 13 confirmed resident; 1 death
  • Highland Park: 62
    • Highland Park Skilled Nursing and Wellness Center
      • 2 confirmed staff; 1 confirmed resident
  • Lincoln Heights: 46
    • Juvenile Central Hall
      • Under investigation
    • Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center
      • 5 confirmed staff; 17 confirmed resident; 1 death
  • Montebello: 98
    • Montebello Care Center
      • 2 confirmed resident
    • Rio Hondo Subacute and Nursing
      • 3 confirmed staff, 4 confirmed resident, 1 death
  • Monterey Park: 57
    • DaVita Garfield Hemodialysis Center (Listed 4/21; removed 4/22)
      • 1 confirmed staff; 1 confirmed resident; 1 probable resident
  • Pasadena: 263 (separate health department often different information than county)
    • Arbor Vista
    • Brighton Care Center
    • California Pasadena Convalescent Hospital (The Californian)
    • Camellia Gardens
    • Fair Oaks Regency Park
    • Foothill Heights Care Center
    • Garfield Care Center (no active cases on 4/15)
    • GEM Transitional Care Center
    • Golden Cross Healthcare (no active cases on 4/15)
    • Huntington Dialysis Center in Pasadena
    • Huntington Post Acute (Pasadena Meadows)
    • Jasmine Terrace
    • Legacy Care Center (Listed 4/14; removed 4/15)
    • Pasadena Grove Health Center (Listed 4/14; removed 4/15)
    • Pasadena Park Healthcare & Wellness Center
      • 3 confirmed staff, 2 confirmed resident
    • Rose Garden
    • Vincent’s (no active cases on 4/15)
    • Villa Gardens Health Center
  • Rosemead: 23
  • San Gabriel: 26
    • Live Oak Rehabilitation Center
      • Under investigation
    • Quality Dialysis Center – San Gabriel (Listed 4/21; removed 4/22)
      • 1 confirmed staff; 1 confirmed resident
  • Unincorporated Northeast San Gabriel: 12
  • Unincorporated South San Gabriel: 7
  • San Marino: 10
  • South El Monte: 10
  • South Pasadena: 51
    • South Pasadena Care Center
      • 16 confirmed staff; 37 confirmed resident; 3 deaths
  • Temple City: 38

Numbers are suppressed in communities with less than 25,000 residents, but with 1-4 confirmed cases:

  • Unincorporated Arcadia
  • Unincorporated South El Monte
  • University Hills

Want to help?

Need help?

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.

Helen Arase contributed reporting.

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