County Reports 30 Cases of COVID-19 at Senior Care Center

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 among South Pasadena residents surged in the last week, with the number more than doubling in that time.
As of press deadline on Wednesday this week, there were 38 residents here confirmed to have the disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged late last year in China. These numbers, reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, come as officials have ramped up testing for the disease that, with no vaccine, has largely shut down much of public life throughout the world as the death toll continues to mount.
The city had 17 residents confirmed at the same time last week. Relatedly, the local Trader Joe’s store closed for several days and reopened last week after three of its employees tested positive for COVID-19. The county also reported that the South Pasadena Care Center is enveloped in a related crisis, with 19 of its residents confirmed to have the disease, another five residents considered probable for the disease and 11 staff members diagnosed.
One of the Care Center’s residents is currently in isolation at Huntington Hospital and being treated for COVID-19, after initially being brought there for treatment of an infection. She had been living at the Care Center since early March. That patient’s daughter, Juliana Jones, said it was “a blessing in disguise” that her mother had been brought to the hospital.
“I know that the nursing home was on lockdown, but there was no indication at all that there was a COVID history,” Jones said in a phone interview. “There was nothing posted on the doors. No one came to me as a family member, as her power of attorney. Nothing.”
A supervisor from the Care Center did not return a phone call before press deadline.
Jones said her mother, 85-year-old Barbara Jacobs, went for a round of dialysis on Wednesday last week and wasn’t feeling well. Jacobs later tested positive for COVID-19 after being brought back to Huntington Hospital. Jones said she was worried from the first day her mother was brought to the Care Center because she was immediately placed in a shared room with three other residents.
“I went straight to the front desk and asked what’s going on here. They said that that was the only bed they had available,” explained Jones, who later added, “It looked like a prison cell. The walls were gray. A wire was hanging from where the TV was. There was no furniture for her to put her belongings. Every night when she was there and I would call her, I would hear screaming people.”
Jones, who lives in Glendale, said the Care Center never returned any of her phone calls to management leading up to her mother’s infection nor did the facility reach out to her as a family member to even inform her of the localized outbreak of the disease there. When her mother is released from Huntington Hospital in three or four weeks, Jones said she plans on bringing her mother home rather than having her sent to another care facility right now.
“Over my dead body will she placed in something like that again,” Jones said.