City Preps For Possible COVID-19 Surge Amid Somber Meeting

The city of Pasadena, in partnership with Huntington Hospital and the Pasadena Convention Center, launched an alternate medical care facility recently to be used only if the hospital surpasses capacity for COVID-19 patients.

Pasadena officials convened the special City Council meeting this week in somber recognition of the growing personal toll on the community as confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue rising at an alarming rate.
Mayor Terry Tornek initiated a moment of silence after officials recited the customary Pledge of Allegiance.
“I ask that we all take a moment to reflect on the extraordinarily difficult circumstances that we are facing as a community today,” he said. “Also, that we share the grief and the pain that we have suffered due to death and illness in Pasadena and our nation and around the world. Please call upon whatever spiritual strength you can summon to comfort and support others and to hope for an early end to this terrible time.”
As of The Outlook’s press deadline on Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Health reported 261 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pasadena, with 28 deaths related to the disease. For all of L.A. County (including Pasadena and Long Beach), there were 15,140 confirmed cases and 663 deaths.
According to Huntington Hospital’s COVID-19 Dashboard, a webpage resource, there are currently 61 hospitalized patients with the disease. The hospital said it has conducted a total of 1,354 tests for the virus on patients between March 6 and April 20, with 1,111 testing negative and 214 testing positive. There were 28 tests still pending results.
In her address to update the City Council, Pasadena Public Health Officer Dr. Ying-Ying Goh said all of the deaths in Pasadena residents related to COVID-19 were associated with long-term care facilities and were among those 49 years or older. However, about half of the confirmed cases have been among people age 65 and younger, she said.
City spokeswoman Lisa Derderian emphasized the council’s moment of silence at its special meeting and the importance to recognize those that are succumbing to the disease.
“We’ve experienced the loss of over 25 members of our community and it’s important we recognize they’re not just numbers but they’ve played a part in the history of Pasadena in one way or another,” Derderian said. “They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends and relatives who can’t properly mourn during this crisis so it’s vital the families know they are not forgotten by our city and we will continue to hold them in our thoughts.”
Late last week, the city of Pasadena, in partnership with Huntington Hospital and the Pasadena Convention Center, unveiled an alternate medical care facility at the Convention Center to be used in case Huntington Hospital sees a surge of local COVID-19 cases and becomes overwhelmed. There are 250 additional beds at the facility, although Huntington Hospital has said it could use up to 400 additional beds, which can be added at the overflow site at a later date if deemed necessary, City Manager Steve Mermell said at a press conference. Huntington Hospital will staff the facility with its own medical teams.
Though officials said they hope to never have to use the site, it is at-the-ready to open if necessary.
Meanwhile, Goh acknowledged that some states are discussing when they might soften the “Safer at Home” policies, but stressed that it is too soon to entertain that yet here. Goh added that when and if it is done, it must be held in coordination with the rest of the region and state. The city’s peaking numbers of COVID-19 might not come for another month or more, officials have said.
Derderian also reiterated that Pasadena’s coronavirus numbers are expected to turn for the worse before they get better.
“We are not there yet and that’s why it’s so important to abide by the ‘Safer at Home’ orders and wear face cloth coverings when out for essential services,” she said. “People are anxious to resume activities but it’s important to note it was the second wave that killed more people during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 and we don’t want history to repeat itself.”

Photos by Erin Rodick / OUTLOOK
Pasadena Convention Center CEO Michael Ross (from left), Jessica Yeh, Christine Susa, Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton, Gianna Wilkins and Naz Sabripour
There are 250 additional beds at the alternate care site, located at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton and Police Chief John Perez