Claremont has jump in virus cases as city begins to open

by Steven Felschundneff |

Claremont’s confirmed cases of the coronavirus continue to rise even as Los Angeles County and the city of Claremont loosen additional restrictions under the stay-at-home order that began in March.


Claremont’s cases jumped 10 percent in one day to 66 on Wednesday, according to a news release from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Claremont’s cases have increased 15 percent in the past week and 56 percent in the past month. Claremont has one confirmed death, while another longtime resident, who no longer resided in the city, tested positive for the coronavirus when she died recently.


The outbreak at Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center, a 99-bed long term care facility on South Indian Hill Boulevard, seems to have slowed somewhat. The numbers of confirmed cases rose slightly from last week to 16 residents and nine staff members testing positive for the coronavirus. The healthcare center also has one death, however, it’s unclear whether that is the same person being reported as Claremont’s one death.


Christina Arias, assistant administrator at County Villa Claremont, said the first positive case was a resident in late May. She said staff was making every effort to contain the outbreak, including retesting every resident and staff member. The center has no issues with staffing or supplies and they are doing everything to get the outbreak under control. She also said they were working to keep residents and their families fully informed about the situation at Country Villa Claremont.


Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center is part of a chain of 19 facilities that were sold to Shlomo Rechnitz at a bankruptcy auction in August of 2015 for $65 million, according to a news release from Newswire. Mr. Rechnitz, through his various corporations, is one of the largest owners of skilled nursing facilities in California, however, it is unclear whether he still owns the Country Villa chain. While each individual location maintains a website, there is no internet presence for the parent company Country Villa Home Services or Country Villa Services Corp. A phone number associated with the company has been disconnected.


The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported in 2014 the parent company at the time, Country Villa Services Corp, entered bankruptcy because of financial difficulties stemming from seven class-action lawsuits amounting to millions of dollars.


Eight other Country Villa facilities in Los Angeles County have COVID-19 outbreaks, including Country Villa Sheraton Nursing and Rehab Center in North Hills which has 39 staff members and 74 residents with the coronavirus, and 18 deaths.


Wednesday’s news release from public health announced that LA County will officially move further into phase three of the “Roadmap to Recovery” by allowing a new sector of the local economy to reopen.


In an amended health order recorded on Thursday, gyms, museums, galleries, zoos, day camps, campgrounds, outdoor recreational areas, leisure stays at hotels, movie and film production, hotels and day camps can reopen on Friday. Professional sports leagues can also have competitions again, as long as they don’t have fans in attendance.


Nail salons, bars, movie theaters, tattoo facilities, concert venues, stadiums and arenas, theme parks and festivals remain closed countywide.


“As with all businesses that are permitted to reopen, the Health Officer Order contains protocols for reopening to ensure it is done as safely as possible for employees, customers and residents. Employees and visitors to these businesses will need to wear a cloth face covering when around other people and practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet at all times. It is so important for everyone to follow the directives and to do their part every day to keep everyone as safe as possible,” LA County Public Health said in a statement.


LA County continues to have the largest outbreak in the state with 67,064 cases of COVID-19 and 2,768 deaths. That equals 50 percent of the state’s cases and 57 percent of the fatalities.


On Wednesday, there were 1,275 new cases and 61 deaths in the county. Forty-two people who died were over the age of 65, 13 people were between the ages of 41 and 65, and three were between the ages of 18 and 40. Forty-nine people had underlying health conditions including 37 people over the age of 65. There are 1,458 people currently hospitalized, 29 percent of these people are in the ICU and 20 percent are on ventilators.


Cases in the county have increased by 13 percent over the past week, while deaths have increased 10 percent.


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