The Community and COVID-19

Amid fears, officials from government agencies offer direction on responding to COVID-19.

File Photo
Glendale Unified School District is working on arranging remote teaching. It is uncertain how long before students will re-enter their schools, including Crescenta Valley High School.


On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger hosted a press conference to share updates on COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, there were 46 new cases of COVID-19 reported in LA County bringing the total to 190, including eight cases in Long Beach and two in Pasadena – both cities have their own health departments. There was one death due to the virus reported in LA County.   

Also included in that 190 number are four cases in Glendale. This week Glendale Unified School District superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian released a statement on Monday that an employee of Clark Magnet High School self-reported s/he has self-quarantined at home due to a possible exposure within the last week to COVID-19.

“We immediately notified the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health, the Los Angeles Office of Education and the City of Glendale of this reporting,” Ekchian stated.

GUSD schools, along with other districts including Los Angeles and Pasadena, have closed schools and are working on organizing a remote teaching system.

Gov. Gavin Newsom set out guidance in several areas including schools. He had mentioned, as did Barger in the press conference, that students might be looking at remote education through the end of the school year. It needs to be understood that this is guidance, not a mandate.

“There has been no official mandate for schools to stay closed,” said Kindra Britt Pappas, director of communications for the California Dept. of Education [CDE].

Each school district can decide what measures it will take during this crisis. It is possible that schools will be out until the end of the school year; however, that will be determined at the local level with the local public health departments.

The CDE worked with the governor on the guidance that has been released and that can be found at

Britt Pappas added the highest priorities to work out are how remote teaching will be done in regard to special education and distance learning and how meals will be distributed to those eligible for  free or reduced-cost lunch.

Many health services are offering patients the option of speaking to their doctor via online viewing.

“We do offer telemedicine services,” said Mary Dacuma Ferguson, spokesperson for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “To better serve patients and the community during the pandemic we issued a blanket credential allowing all our medical partners to see patients via telemedicine.”

As is happening at hospitals across the state many are rescheduling non-essential services. A member of the health system from USC-VHH will reach out to those patients who will need to reschedule these non-essential services.

In addition, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the rising number of cases in California, Keck Medicine of USC has announced precautions to protect staff and patients to reduce the spread of the disease. These include all patients being screened for COVID-19 and triaged for appropriate treatment, including remote treatment at home by a recently activated clinical team. The hospitals will allow only one visitor at a time per patient. Visitors must be over the age of 14. There will be exceptions made for critical situations.

With regard to staff, all Keck Medicine health care providers have been credentialed to practice telemedicine in order to expand capacity, enabling virtual visits with patients. Domestic and international travel has been restricted for staff, and those who have returned from international travel are being screened for COVID-19. An automated re-order system for supplies has been in effect to ensure facilities remained stocked. In addition planning is underway that includes constructing temporary clinical screening and isolation, according to a Keck Medicine, USC-VHH press release.

The Dept. of Public Health of LA County continues to urge people to work from home and for those who must go out to remember social distancing by keeping at least six feet from another person.

On Monday, the Dept. of Public Health of LA County released a temporary prohibition of group events and gatherings, required social distancing measures and closure of certain businesses. That order included all indoor public and private gatherings and all outdoor public and private events within a confined space where at least 50 people are expected to be in attendance at the same time. The order also included that social distancing among attendees within a confined space be [at least] six feet.

This order also required all bars and nightclubs that do not serve food to be closed, as well as requiring all gyms, fitness centers, movie and live performance theaters, bowling alleys and arcades to close. In addition restaurants are required to serve food to-go only.

For more information on what to do if you feel you have been exposed to the coronavirus or are feeling ill, and for information on how to protect from getting/spreading the virus, visit