It’s a difficult situation, points out Paul Riddle, yet the South Pasadena fire chief is encouraged that numbers in terms of cases and deaths due to the coronavirus seem to have stabilized at the South Pasadena Care Center.
Riddle said during the May 6 City Council meeting his department had not responded to any additional incidents in three days after reports that 78 residents at the facility had contracted COVID-19.
On Monday, May 11, that number had not changed, joining 29 staff members diagnosed with the disease for a total of 107 affected. Riddle said there have been 13 associated deaths at the center due to the disease.
Skilled Nursing facilities, added Riddle, presenting data from the county, remain a top priority in reducing outbreaks of the disease. He said about 50 percent of the county deaths associated with coronavirus are in nursing homes.
“One of the on-going goals of LA County is to continue to test all residents and staff in the skilled nursing facilities,” said Riddle. “The goal is to detect an outbreak early, isolate those positive patients and eliminate the risk of current exposure going throughout the facility.”
Riddle explained that all staff and residents at the South Pasadena Care Center have been tested, including those who are asymptomatic.
He said the center received a shipment of N95 masks, with more, along with gowns, potentially coming from the county.
The state has a surplus of 19 million-plus surgical masks that will be distributing, Riddle said. While donations of masks by various organizations and groups are appreciated, he said the care center needs the highest rated, medically graded PPE’s – N95 masks.
Among those eligible for coronavirus testing include:
• Anyone with symptoms
• All essential workers regardless of symptoms
• Those over 65 or have underlying health conditions
• People in Institutional congregate living settings
• Locations and number of testing sites: 38 – covid19.lacounty.gov/testing
Riddle said his department remains fully staffed with no projected reductions in staffing or interruption to fire and EMS services in the city.
The fire chief said no local fire personnel have been subjected to quarantine. Calls for service are slightly above normal. The department is fully stocked with PPE with no shortages expected for South Pasadena fire department personnel.
As of mid-day on Monday, 67,939 people tested positive for COVID-19, with 2,770 deaths in the state. To date 991,897 had been tested in California according to the LA County Health Department.