Huntington Hospital’s Response Is All About Teamwork

Jaynie Studenmund

By Jaynie Studenmund
Special to The Outlook

Our world has changed extraordinarily over the past several months in ways no one could have predicted at the start of 2020, a new decade.
We’ve faced an unprecedented pandemic that has radically changed the way we live our lives and think about our family, friends and society. We’ve seen a worldwide movement against racial injustice in response to the murder of George Floyd and other societal disparities — including those in health care. (To say nothing of the economic disruption, unemployment rate and volatile stock market, all of which carry major, ongoing impacts.) The confluence of these events further underlines the truth that keeping our community safe and close requires each and every one of us to work together. Please know that our board and management are reevaluating our diversity and inclusion programs to be more responsive and robust.

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Telehealth Therapy Enables a Stream of PCDA Services

Photo courtesy PCDA
Professional Child Development Associates therapist Alaina Hogue prepares for a music therapy telehealth session from her home. Like most PCDA therapists she has transformed her in-person therapy methods to a virtual format, ensuring the safety of medically at-risk clients and their families during the pandemic.

Amid the pandemic-generated tumult being confronted by many local nonprofit organizations, there are a few silver linings to be found here and there.
For Professional Child Development Associates, which focuses on family and child health services, the upside of social distancing protocols aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19 has been found in a radical leap to telehealth therapy.
Now, PCDA’s small army of therapists can be found streaming into a family’s kitchen or living room, engaging young children with music, puppets or soothing stories, and lending support to mothers and fathers as well as extended family members who might be isolating with them.
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Fiesta Days Annual Weekend Is Canceled

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
The 47th annual Fiesta Days weekend, presented by the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce, is being canceled for the first time since its inception in 1974 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has announced that the annual Fiesta Days celebration, a citywide tradition since 1974, has officially been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
What would have been the 47th annual event had previously been moved from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend (Sept. 4-7) pending clearance regarding COVID-19 restrictions this past month.
“Our community looks forward every year to the Fiesta Days celebration to help remind us of our roots and all of the wonderful community members who volunteer to serve every aspect of our community’s needs,” said Pat Anderson, the CEO and president of the LCF Chamber of Commerce, which presents the event. “This year’s celebration had to be postponed as a result of the ban on large gatherings and the risk of contributing to the spread of COVID-19.
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Supervisor Barger Addresses Chamber of Commerce

The Burbank Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual chat on Thursday with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who addressed COVID-19, the economic fallout from the pandemic and protests.
Barger wanted to clarify statistics pertaining to the coronavirus and assure the chamber and public that the county is hard at work to help the local economy recover from businesses shutting down because of the Safer at Home directives.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger

“This pandemic has truly been devastating to the health and economy of the county, as you all know,” she said. “ … The county and its residents have done a great job in flattening the curve, and I know it’s been painful for many people. By all accounts we have kept the case numbers low, prevented our health-care system from being overwhelmed and are moving into the stages of recovery.”
There has been a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, increasing the total number to 68,875 and 2,813 deaths as of June 11.
However, Barger attributed the surge in cases to the fact that more people are getting tested and the spread rate has gone down.
“Prior to the civil unrest, the spread rate for every one person that was positive was less than one person that would come in contact and possibly get it,” said Barger, who also informed the chamber the positive rate has remained at 8%. “At the beginning of Safer at Home, for every one person who had COVID, it was spread to about five people. So we truly did slow it down.”
She did express concern for a possible increase in coronavirus cases with the recent protests.

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Council Members Updated on COVID, Housing Permits

Burbank City Council met virtually earlier this week, discussing a multitude of issues, including reopening plans among businesses and amenities amid the continuing increase in coronavirus cases. Council members also addressed protests that have occurred in the city.

Recent protests and reopening of certain businesses could contribute to an uptick in coronavirus cases going forward, city officials said at the Burbank City Council meeting this week.
Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Baumgardner told council members that though there has been a recent increase in COVID-19 infections, it remains difficult to attribute it to a single cause. The timing of protests and mass demonstrations, he explained, has coincided with the county allowing the reopening of restaurants and retail businesses, with limited capacity.
Additionally, Fire Chief Eric Garcia noted that more information may need to be gathered as county testing centers reopen after being inactive amid widespread protests.
As of The Leader’s press time on Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported there have been 431 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Burbank, with 42 deaths related to the disease. A rise in those numbers has been consistent with that experienced throughout the county, which has shown an increase of roughly 1-2% per day, Baumgardner said at Tuesday’s meeting.
Among Burbank’s cases, 120 people were nursing home residents and 72 were staff members at such facilities, according to the county, which also said 32 deaths resulted from those cases.
Officials also explained some of the health protocols being implemented for city staff members as the county moves into the third phase of the state’s reopening plan. The city plans to bring back most of its employees, according to Baumgardner. Safety measures have been implemented or required at city offices, Garcia added, citing the use of Plexiglas shields, mandated social distancing and face coverings. Businesses that the county allows to reopen will also have their own set of protocols to follow.
The county announced Wednesday that it would allow reopening of several sectors starting on Friday, including gyms, day camps, hotels, museums and professional sports events without live audiences. Music, film and television production will also be allowed to resume.
All sectors will have county-mandated health guidelines for their operations, and the county could reverse the openings if it sees a spike in cases.

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USC-VHH Obtains Drug OK’d for COVID-19 Cases

As the global battle against the coronavirus persists, doctors at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital have been able to join select others nationwide in deploying what can hopefully be a key weapon in curtailing the deadly virus.
After clinical trials, government officials recently made the drug remdesivir available to hospitals for emergency use on COVID-19 inpatients who meet specific criteria. Though initially developed by the pharmaceutical company Gilead as a hepatitis C treatment (for which it was unsuccessful), the drug was later tested for use against the Ebola virus, SARS and also MERS — the latter two of which are also infections from coronaviruses.
“We were one of the hospitals that did get it and we have already started the process of giving [it to] the patients who qualify for it,” explained Dr. Armand Dorian, chief medical officer at USC-VHH, in an interview this week. “We have now given it to six patients here who have so far improved, so we’re happy with the results we’re seeing.”
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College Success Fund ‘Planting Seeds of Hope’

This Glendale 1st-grader hopes to use the $50 from the Student Success Fund to attend college and become a veterinarian, saying, “When I make animals feel better, I feel happy.”

Amid the requisite challenging financial news that accompanies every meeting in the COVID-19 era, the Glendale Unified School District launched a truly uplifting program on Thursday evening that pierced through the typical report of budget deficits and dwindling reserves.
It’s called the College Success Fund, a long-awaited new initiative that will provide each 1st-grader within GUSD with a $50 savings account to begin the long financial road toward post-secondary education.
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