Officials Brace for Possible COVID-19 Spike, Discuss Care Site Options

Photo by Mitch Lehman / Outlook
Pasadena’s Eaton Canyon Nature Center reported sizable crowds after government announcements directed people to stay home because of coronavirus concerns, but reminding them they could get out and walk.
As of Tuesday, local parks and trails remained open, although nearby cities announced closures due to overcrowding.

As occurrences of the coronavirus surged in Los Angeles County and California this week, local officials announced a doubling of Pasadena cases and expectations of a further increase, and said they are seeking alternate care sites should the patient load outpace the availability of beds as the health crisis worsens.
Huntington Hospital and the city are collaborating with local public health departments, as well as other hospitals, to identify possible sites to treat and quarantine patients, much like the county’s arrangement to use the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel in Pomona should the local health care system become overwhelmed.
“We are working with the city of Pasadena to explore alternate care site options for our community should we need more beds than we have available,” said Dorey Huston, a Huntington Hospital spokesperson. “We do not need to implement the use of these tents or protocols yet, but we are ready to move quickly should circumstances change. … We are also collaborating with local public health departments as well as other hospitals via the Hospital Association of Southern California and the California Hospital Association.
“We are hopeful that the social distancing measures help flatten the curve and we can avoid a large surge of COVID-19 patients who require hospital care,” Huston said.
As of The Outlook’s press time on Tuesday, the Pasadena Public Health Department confirmed a total of six COVID-19 cases in Pasadena, with only one requiring hospitalization. The three additional cases announced on Monday were likely due to community transmission, Public Health said, adding that it would not provide any other information on the confirmed cases due to patient confidentiality.
“PPHD is following up directly with those who have had close contact with [the affected individuals] and may be at risk for COVID-19 infection. Close contacts are monitored for signs and symptoms of illness and are quarantined,” the department said in a statement.
In Pasadena, there was one reported death at a local hospital earlier this week, but the patient was not a local resident, a city spokesperson confirmed, declining to release further details.
Meanwhile, the county Department of Public Health reported Tuesday that it has identified 662 cases across all areas of the county, with 119 positive cases requiring hospitalization and 256 new cases found over a 48-hour period. There have been 11 deaths countywide related to the coronavirus, including that of a Lancaster-area youth under 18, although that case is still under investigation.
The first reported death of a youth should be a stark reminder that “COVID-19 does not discriminate by age, race or income level, and what we are seeing in places like New York is indicative of what we should prepare to experience here,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director. “Each loss we experience in L.A. County is tragic, and we are sending our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones who’ve had to endure this tragedy.”
City spokesperson Lisa Derderian noted that officials widely expect the number of cases to rise in the coming days and weeks.
“Due to the availability of more testing we will continue to see an increase in cases locally,” she said, but noted that there is nevertheless a shortage of testing. “I want to emphasize only those who exhibit symptoms should be tested and that should be determined by their health-care provider/personal physician. Do not go to the emergency room to get tested unless you’re exhibiting symptoms.”
As the city braces for what that rise in coronavirus cases might look like, residents continue to try to adhere to the further tightening of local control measures known as the “Safer at Home Order” issued by Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, Pasadena’s public health officer, in coordination with the county. Last week, Goh announced enhanced measures, also in concert with the county, to “flatten the curve,” or slow the spiking trend of the virus.
City measures order residents:
• Do not have nonessential gatherings with anyone outside of immediate family members ― those living with you. Essential gatherings include medical visits and purchasing food.
• If you are sick, isolate yourself from others in your home and call your doctor to determine what care you need.
• If available, consider using telemedicine to speak with a health-care provider, rather than visiting the emergency room or urgent care.
• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when on essential outings such as grocery shopping or riding public transit to an essential job.
• Continue strict personal hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces.
• If you have recently returned from an area with ongoing COVID-19 infections, follow public health guidance and monitor your health. Call your health-care providers and inform them about your travel history if you need care.
The order also prohibits public and private events or gatherings of 10 or more people, and requires the closure of malls, shopping centers, children’s playgrounds and nonessential retail businesses.
The order does not prohibit an individual or family from outdoor activities such as hiking, walking or shopping at essential businesses — including grocery stores and take-out at restaurants — as long as all persons practice social distancing.
Despite what he described as “draconian” measures to keep people inside and slow the spread of the disease, Mayor Terry Tornek urged Pasadenans to be patient.
“In spite of our best efforts, more people will be infected. If you don’t feel well, call your doctor — don’t go to the emergency room. We need your cooperation if we are to succeed,” he said in a statement. “Stay at home, go out only to shop for necessities and to get some exercise. Take a walk around the Rose Bowl, or Victory Park, but maintain a safe distance from other people.”
And don’t forget about your favorite neighborhood eateries, he said: “Order takeout from a local restaurant to keep them in business.”