As Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials confirmed three coronavirus cases in a region including La Cañada Flintridge as of Wednesday, the city’s mayor called this a “serious and difficult time” for the community.
The region referred to by public health also includes unincorporated La Crescenta-Montrose and has a population of 40,253.
“I ask that our residents stay up to date with the recommendations to battle this virus,” Mayor Leonard Pieroni said in an email to The Outlook this week. “Adhere to the ‘safer at home’ orders from the federal, state and county leadership. We are all in this situation together. I count on our community to look out for our families, friends, and especially those that might need more help during this time. We will get through this, and I am looking forward to that.”
On March 22, Public Health issued what it called a clarification to its “Safer at Home” order extending through April 19 and including LCF. Local officials at an LCF City Council meeting had announced they would close all indoor and outdoor public gatherings and closed so-called nonessential businesses like movie theaters, gyms or fitness centers and bars or nightclubs that do not serve food; the closures were in accordance with an earlier Public Health order. After the county’s clarification, the city ordered that social distancing of at least 6 feet be maintained when people come into contact with one another and that so-called nonessential retail businesses be closed.
City Manager Mark Alexander said he had no further information about the coronavirus cases in the city’s region as Public Health has noted that because of personal privacy concerns it would withhold details.
“We are going through a critical stage right now, so please cooperate by following the ‘safer at home’ orders,” Alexander said. He added that city staff is planning a briefing of the City Council this week and a special meeting set for Monday or Tuesday.
Local residents can email questions or concerns about the city’s response to the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, to email@example.com.
The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station has not made an arrest or issued a citation for violations of coronavirus regulations as of Tuesday, said Sgt. John Gilbert.
“We haven’t received many calls for service regarding them,” said Gilbert, who added his department is educating people about the regulations, with positive results. “Luckily, we’ve been able to gain compliance through speaking with people.”
Also on Tuesday, county Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference his department is “targeting” nonessential businesses which fail to observe state and local orders to have no more than 10 people in a public space.
“We will go after the people that are leading those efforts,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva said that he expects people to cooperate with coronavirus regulations in a responsible manner but that deputies are “not going to be chasing individuals around the street” to make sure they’re 6 feet apart.
“Nothing like that,” Villanueva said.
County Board of Supervisors chair Kathryn Barger announced Monday that because of overcrowding, county Department of Parks and Recreation trails were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
LCF Senior Management Analyst Paddy Taber confirmed both city and county trails were closed until further notice, with signs to be posted soon if not already.
The city trails are located in Cherry Canyon while all but one of the county trails are located above Foothill Boulevard, he said. Flint Canyon Trail, located south of Foothill, also belongs to the county.
The La Cañada Trails Council website at lcftrails.org has all of the trails listed with maps.
Angeles National Forest trails remained open as of Tuesday, said Nathan Judy, an information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
“We follow the guidelines of [the Centers for Disease Control] regarding COVID-19 and we’re closely monitoring the situation,” Judy said.
Campgrounds, recreation sites and restrooms are also closed, he said.
Additionally, the visitor center and other offices have gone “virtual,” with no walk-in service.
Interested residents should follow the forest’s twitter, Facebook and website accounts, Judy said.
Mary Virgallito, a registered nurse and associate administrator of quality and patient safety at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, said local coronavirus cases could increase and residents should continue practicing good social health.
“Testing with commercial laboratories has delayed some results up to seven days or more, and the distribution of confirmed cases in each community could change,” Virgallito said in an email. “Ultimately, the best thing people can do to stay safe and prevent rapid, widespread infection is to stay at home whenever possible and especially when sick, wash hands thoroughly and practice good respiratory etiquette.”
The city has canceled some upcoming meetings, including the Joint Use Committee meeting of city and school officials that was scheduled for today, March 26; the April 1 State of the City presentation; an April 3 Youth Council meeting; and an April 4 Planning Commission hearing on the zoning code. A commission meeting set for 6 p.m. tonight and a design commission meeting scheduled for 7:30 a.m. April 2 remain scheduled. Other meetings are tentative depending on the “current crisis,” according to a city statement.
City-approved projects are continuing on a case-by-case basis, said LCF Public Works Director Patrick DeChellis.
“For example, work at the Lanterman House which has been underway for a couple of months has been suspended until further notice,” he said.
However, street resurfacing on Commonwealth Avenue from Foothill Boulevard to Berkshire Avenue is scheduled to continue at this time, he said. The pavement on Commonwealth will be ground to a certain depth and then paved with asphalt from curb to curb. Construction is set to start in early May after a bid is awarded on April 7.