Officials express cautious optimism about slowing the virus

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

During their Monday news conference public health officials started off with some rare good news.

“We are at the start of a new week and a new month and we are cautiously optimistic that we are getting back on track to slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said. “We are still seeing that on average last week 2,000 people were hospitalized each day. But, the good news is those numbers have started to come down and we are not seeing the increases that we saw just a few weeks ago.”

Ms. Ferrer highlighted the fact that the seven-day average of new cases has dipped to 2,600 per day after peaking a few weeks ago at 3,000. The positivity rate has remained high at 8.8 percent but it has not increased even as more people are getting tested.

The best news, however, is that hospitalizations are falling which is a key indicator of health system capacity, according to public health officials. After reaching an average of 2,200 people hospitalized in the middle of July, that number now stands closer to 2,000 and on Monday was just 1,784. Of the people currently hospitalized, thirty percent are in ICU and eighteen percent are on ventilators.

“We do hope that because we are seeing the number of people hospitalized stabilize, that we will start to see fewer people passing away,” Ms. Ferrer said.

Ms. Ferrer credited residents and businesses following the guidance in the health order as the main reason the spread of the virus has slowed.

“Simply put, closing the bars worked. It also worked to limit indoor dining at restaurants, and to move the operations of various businesses and institutions outdoors,” she said.

Unfortunately, here in Claremont the numbers keep going up, with 257 cumulative cases in the city and its unincorporated areas. However, the spread seems to have slowed here, too, because the 23 cases reported in the last week is roughly a 10 percent increase, which is approximately half the weekly increases observed two weeks ago. There has been one addition death in Claremont bringing the total to five.

The city has a new institutional outbreak, with Claremont Place on San Jose Avenue reporting two staff members and one resident testing positive.

Officials at Front Porch, the parent company of Claremont Manor, contacted the COURIER with further details about the outbreak at the Manor.

“Communication on the changing conditions related to COVID-19 has been sent throughout the pandemic via our emergency alert system to our community [including] residents, families, and staff,” Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing Justin Weber said.

The outbreak was first caught when a staff member tested positive through the ongoing weekly testing of residents and staff. Currently, the county is reporting six staff members in the Claremont Manor Care center positive for the virus, and six in the Manor’s retirement community who are also positive. Two residents at the Manor also have COVID-19, one in the care center and one in the retirement community.

The staff members who tested positive are no longer providing care and have been instructed to self isolate.

“We are following all LA County Public Health requirements and isolating the positive resident as well as all residents who have had any potential contact. In addition, we are limiting staff who specifically care for the residents to the same staff members and not allowing them to care for other residents,” Mr. Weber said about the outbreak in the skilled nursing facility.

Over the past week the outbreak at the Manor, which has 280 residents, appears to have stabilized with only one new case among the staff.

 

 

 

 

 

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