Institutional Covid-19 outbreaks impact local senior communities

by Steven Felschundneff |

As coronavirus cases continue to climb, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reporting three emerging institutional outbreaks in and adjacent to Claremont.


Western Assemblies Home, which serves people affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren Church, has 12 cases among staff, six among residents and one death. Claremont Manor Retirement Community reports cases among six staff and two residents. Mount San Antonio Gardens, which is in Pomona but has many Claremont retirees, reports cases among four staff members and three residents.


“We have been conducting surveillance and response testing for COVID-19 in our skilled nursing staff and residents. Additionally, any staff who may have had occasion to enter those areas as part of their work, and others who have had suspected or known exposures, are tested as well. Unfortunately, in the last several days, we have received positive results for two skilled nursing residents and a total of four staff in our nursing and housekeeping departments,” Mount San Antonio Gardens CEO Maureen Beith announced in a statement posted on the Gardens’ website on July 20.


The cases were discovered through random testing of staff and residents of the skilled nursing facility, Ms. Beith told the COURIER on Wednesday. Employees outside of the skilled nursing unit have their temperature taken twice per day and are monitored for symptoms of illness.


“All of these individuals have been, and continue to be, asymptomatic. The employees are safely quarantined at home until cleared to return to work by the Department of Public Health. The residents are being cared for in our dedicated COVID-19 area, by nursing staff specifically assigned to only this area,” the statement continued.


Residents of Mount San Antonio Gardens retirement community have access to testing at the community clinic, but there is not a testing requirement among residents who are not currently in the skilled nursing facility.


Claremont’s first institutional outbreak at Country Villa Claremont Healthcare Center appears to have been controlled as the number of cases have not changed in several weeks.

Evidence that the coronavirus’ community spread continues in Claremont has been bolstered recently by a steady increase in new cases week over week. On Wednesday the public health department reported 214 cumulative cases in Claremont, including three in unincorporated areas of the city. That reflects a 16 percent increase from a week ago when there were 180 cases. Sadly, the county has reported one more death, bringing Claremont’s total to four.


Countywide reported 3,266 new cases and 64 deaths. Cumulative cases in L.A. County are 164,870 and total deaths 4,213.


During a news conference on Monday, Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the recent rise in cases across the county is tied in part to social gatherings on the Fourth of July holiday.


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