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Los Angeles County is “Extraordinarily Worried” About Congregate Care Settings

Rose Bowl mobile testing site, Pasadena, April, 2020. Photo by Helen Arase.

Location

Alhambra , CA

Institutional settings ­– mostly elderly and assisted care facilities – are desperately battling COVID-19 as calls for “reopening” the country are beginning to increase. As many as 20 sites in Los Angeles County have outbreaks with 20 or more positive resident cases, and four have large outbreaks of 40 or more residents testing positive.

A disproportionate number of institutional deaths are represented in the county-wide total, with 177 of the 567 deaths – 36% – occurred in these congregate settings, most of them at long-term or assisted-living facilities and nursing homes for the elderly.

Not including Pasadena, which has its own health department and reports its own cases, the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding area has nine facilities identified as having cases, though it is not clear if any of them have the outbreaks of 20 or more. Including Pasadena, the SGV has 22 institutions under investigation. Only 142 L.A. County facilities have been identified of the 228 under investigation.

There were new 567 cases reported in the last 24 hours, moving the total case count, through confirmed tests, to 11,391 in the county. Forty deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said many people are very sick for days before dying, and the institutional settings much of the time have medically vulnerable people residing in them.

The county has asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state-level aid for technical assistance, specifically stringent infection control measures, and additional staffing due to staff absences due to exposure or illness.

Ferrer maintained that the county continued to slow the spread of COVID-19 and is continuing to study the spread and increase testing.

As many as 30 testing sites have been established in the last month under the direction of the Los Angeles Fire Department Medical Director Clayton Kazan.

Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 mobile testing sites as of mid-April, 2020. Graphic via L.A. County.

The county emailed a press release Friday saying that testing is available for anyone exhibiting symptoms, regardless of their immigration status, insurance status, age, underlying heath issues, and is free – it just requires an appointment for vehicular or on-foot testing, no walk-ups allowed.

The county has the ability to test nearly 10,000 per day, and Kazan asked for continued patience when waiting for lab results, though the labs are beginning to “hit their stride.” Over 74,000 people have been tested.

Kazan will help transition the testing oversight to the Department of Public Health, under the direction of Dr. James A. McKinnell of UCLA-Harbor Medical Center who is an infectious disease expert. Kazan will return to his duties as the medical director of the L.A. County Fire Department.

The county will share the results from their antibody study on Monday. Ferrer expects that over time, the study will show that many more people will have been exposed than were tested or confirmed positive. This will help contextualize key figures including the death rate that now stands at 4.3%.

The state and county are laying out plans “not to turn the light switch on, but to move the dimmer,” as Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his briefing today, but both levels of government say the physical distancing measures are still necessary at this point and will be going forward.

County officials echoed the slow-start message, applauding the public’s efforts thus far, and pleading for the adherence of public health directives in the Health Officer Order.

The county is working with Airbnb to host first responders, and the first 100,000 to book a stay during their fight against COVID-19 will have fees waived.

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

  • In the last 24 hours: 40 deaths; 567 cases
  • Total deaths: 495 (including Pasadena’s 16 deaths)
  • Total cases: 11,391

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

  • Alhambra: 40
    • Alhambra Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP
  • Arcadia: 27
    • Santa Anita Convalescent Hospital
  • Boyle Heights: 65
  • El Monte: 47
    • Mayflower Care Center
  • El Sereno: 46
    • Huntington Healthcare Center
  • Unincorporated East L.A.: 121
    • Buena Ventura Care Center
  • Highland Park: 44
    • Highland Park Skilled Nursing and Wellness Center
  • Lincoln Heights: 24
    • Kei-Ai Los Angeles Healthcare Center
  • Montebello: 69
  • Monterey Park: 38
    • DaVita Garfield Hemodialysis Center
  • Pasadena: 198 (separate health department)
    • Brighton Care Center
    • California Convalescent Hospital (Listed 4/14; removed 4/15)
    • Camellia Gardens
    • Fair Oaks Regency Park
    • Foothill Heights Care Center
    • Garfield Care Center (no active cases on 4/15)
    • Golden Cross Healthcare (no active cases on 4/15)
    • 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)
    • Rose Garden
    • Vincent’s (no active cases on 4/15)
  • Rosemead: 16
  • San Gabriel: 15
  • Unincorporated Northeast San Gabriel: 7
  • Unincorporated South San Gabriel: 7
  • San Marino: 8
  • South Pasadena: 21
    • South Pasadena Care Center
  • Temple City: 24

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

  • Unincorporated Arcadia
  • South El Monte
  • 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.

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