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L.A. County Rents Pomona Fairplex Hotel for Coronavirus Isolation



LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis today joined Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Fairplex President/CEO Miguel Santana, Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval, and LA County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer to announce that LA County has entered into an agreement with Fairplex to use the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel as temporary housing for individuals who may have been ordered to isolate or quarantine by the Department of Public Health due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Our overwhelmed health care system will not be able to admit every person with mild symptoms of COVID-19. As we contain the spread of this virus, we need quarantine sites where people can receive care and heal,” Supervisor Solis said. “The Fairplex and the Sheraton have responded to this emergency with courage and compassion by providing LA County residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19 a safe space where they can recuperate and recover. This partnership is an example of state, county, and local leaders coming together to keep our communities safe and healthy. LA County stands in solidarity with the Fairplex as we work together to limit the rate of infection.”

The Sheraton Fairplex, a 244-room hotel, is located on the Pomona campus of Fairplex, home of the Los Angeles County Fair. Fairplex owns the hotel; Marriott International manages it as the owner of the Sheraton Hotel chain. The agreement calls for the hotel to be used by the County from March 23 to May 31, with the potential for a four-week extension. This is a part of a larger effort under way to seek out supportive housing facilities throughout the County. The Sheraton Fairplex is the first in the County to have the entire hotel contracted out to the County for COVID-19 assistance.

Santana said this may be the most important community service role Fairplex has played in its 98-year history.

“Fairplex is offering its unwavering support to Los Angeles County for its plan to provide regional accommodations for individuals who must be separated from their loved ones who have been medically directed to self-isolate,” Santana said. “While this is just one element of a much broader effort at all levels of our community to help slow the spread of COVID-19, it goes to the core of what Fairplex is all about: supporting, even preserving community. And never is this more important than when the threat is greatest and we all feel challenged to think of our own needs first. Stepping outside that perspective and focusing on the broader benefit is what it means to be a community, and I’m proud of the role we will play.”

Mayor Sandoval agreed with Santana.

“This is about helping our neighbors, our families, our community. This is what Pomona does, this is what we’ve always done,” Sandoval said. “Pomona is a city with compassion.”

In addition, the Fairplex Child Development Center will open its doors to the children of health care workers and first responders. Hospital personnel and law enforcement will be provided with childcare. Fairplex is currently working with Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center to assist its staff.

President and CEO of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Richard Yochum said this service will be an “immense help.”

“Many of our dedicated hospital associates are being pulled in competing directions – protecting public health and arranging childcare for their children who are home from school, so that they can care for our community. Childcare near the hospital will alleviate a tremendous strain on them,” Yochum said. “And having the hotel beds available for medically quarantined individuals will free up hospital capacity for our most critically ill – cancer, heart, stroke and trauma patients – as well as those who may become seriously ill from COVID-19.”

Today’s action is part of LA County’s commitment to comply with the County Department of Public Health’s guidelines to minimize the risk of transmission. While hotel rooms will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis, the Office of Emergency Management said it will assist in housing individuals who have been medically quarantined in close proximity to their home, making the Sheraton Fairplex an option for eastern San Gabriel Valley residents facing isolation over COVID-19 concerns.

“Our County is committed to supporting our residents during this pandemic. Our mission is aligned with the County’s commitment to provide service to the most vulnerable in a caring and supportive way. A clear example of this is the supportive housing solution we’ve developed by leveraging important partnerships – like today’s agreement with the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel,” said Kevin McGowan, the director of LA County’s Office of Emergency Management. “We must show compassionate care, reject the urge to focus only on ourselves, and provide for those that have been impacted by this virus. We urge others in the business community to step forward and work with the County on similar temporary housing solutions across the region.”

This partnership comes a day after Safer at Home Orders were issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, LA County, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. The County’s order called for retail stores not considered essential to close. This includes malls and shopping centers. Both the County and City orders went into effect at early morning March 20 and will last through April 19. The County order bans gatherings of 10 or more people, with few exceptions.

“I want to thank the Fairplex and the Sheraton for stepping up and helping us in our efforts to mitigate this virus,” said Supervisor Barger. “The proposed quarantine site will help keep our communities safe as we continue to increase our efforts to practice social distancing.”

Public health officials will determine who will be referred to the Fairplex for quarantine.

“Social distancing remains the best and most effective tool to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “As every County department is responding to this pandemic, it is encouraging to see local partners such as the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel step up to do what they can to protect residents. This effort will likely take several months, so every single one of us must remember that we are all in this together and we must all do our part.”

Today’s announcement is a collaboration between state, county and local officials, along with the Marriott.

“Marriott International is working directly with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services to make some of our properties available to support California’s efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19,” said Allison Sitch, vice president of public relations for Marriott International. “We recognize these are unprecedented times that require different actions and solutions. We intend on cooperating with the Governor on the state’s response.”

Santana acknowledged that there will be some push back on the decision.

“Sadly, some may criticize the plan as inappropriate for our neighborhood. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, it is representative of all that is good about our community,” he added.

Fairplex also is working with the nonprofit La Verne-based food bank Sowing Seeds for Life to operate a drive-thru food pantry in the Fairplex parking lot off Gate 15 on the La Verne side of the campus. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every first and third Wednesday of the month starting April 1. ID will be required. The pantry will be available to all residents of LA County.

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County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family



LOS ANGELES – 300 iPads have been donated to Los Angeles County hospitals to facilitate patient-family communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift is through a partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, Brilliant Corners, and the Los Angeles County Center for Strategic Partnerships.

“The engagement of loved ones during hospitalization has been shown to improve clinical outcomes,” said DHS Director, Dr. Christina Ghaly. “Clinical staff identified a role for virtual visiting through technology in order to facilitate this family involvement. The generous donations by the Annenberg Foundation and MobileDemand will help support this critical element of our patients’ care.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patient visitation by family and loved ones is limited at facilities in order to prevent exposure and the spread of disease. While there are some exceptions, such as the birth of a child or death of a patient, visitation is not permitted for the vast majority of patients and not allowed at all for COVID-19 patients. 

The donation provides 300 iPads to ensure patients and their families are able to connect, despite restrictions in access to the hospital. A second donation, by MobileDemand, provides rugged, protective healthcare iPad cases to protect against damage and loss. The rugged case also has an adjustable easel attached, providing effortless viewing for patients who are too weak to hold a tablet. Additionally, it frees health care staff from having to hold the device for patients.

“This is a wonderful example of how philanthropic organizations, nonprofits, government, and businesses can collaborate and meet an immediate need in our community,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation. “Being able to offer an opportunity for comfort and connection to those suffering and to alleviate some of the stress from our frontline caregivers is of utmost importance.”

While social distancing has been successful in flattening the curve of the COVID-19 surge in Los Angeles County, it is anticipated that it will continue for several months. With this gift, physicians and nurses will be able to place an iPad in the room of COVID and other critically-ill patients for the duration of the admission and reduce potential exposure and use of personal protective equipment going in and out of the room. Having a stationary iPad helps relieve medical staff who would otherwise have to hold the phone for a patient or search for the person’s personal phone. It also will allow patients who do not have a personal mobile device to communicate and “visit” with their family.

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) is the second largest municipal health system in the nation. Through its integrated system of 26 health centers and four hospitals – LAC+USC Medical Center, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center – and expanded network of community partner clinics, DHS annually provides direct care for 600,000 unique patients, employs over 22,000 staff, and has an annual budget of over $6 billion.

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Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day



The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is putting a strain on essential workers such as first responders and healthcare workers who are on the frontlines in the effort to care for coronavirus patients so the City of West Hollywood is setting out to recognize them in a special way on May 6.

National Nurses Day is a day of recognition to celebrate and honor the contributions that nurses have made and continue to make in our communities and throughout the nation. National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6, which marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week-long celebration to raise awareness of the value of nursing and educate the public on the role nurses play in meeting the healthcare needs of Americans. National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, or as she was more commonly known, “The Lady of the Lamp” and founder of modern nursing.

The West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is coordinating two motorcades to honor healthcare workers on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, which is nationally recognized as National Nurses Day. The processions will begin at 9:45 a.m. and at 7:15 p.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard at La Cienega Boulevard and the motorcades will head west and then travel southbound on N. San Vicente Boulevard passing multiple medical center locations in West Hollywood en route to a destination outside the emergency room entrance of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Gracie Allen Drive. First responders will briefly stop, exit their vehicles and applaud healthcare workers while wearing face coverings and practicing appropriate social distancing.

“Our nurses and healthcare workers are nothing short of heroes,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Lindsey P. Horvath. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us just how critical their work is to our everyday health and safety. This National Nurses Day means so much more to all of us — the City of West Hollywood and our LA County Sheriff’s West Hollywood Station and LA County Fire Stations; the City of Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills Police and Fire; the City of Los Angeles and LAPD and LAFD; the California Highway Patrol, and more — and we will honor these heroes in a special way for the care that they provide, which often goes unseen and unrecognized, in carrying us through this crisis.”

“As the worldwide response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, the critical importance of nurses in our society has been brought sharply into focus,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman. “More often than not, when a coronavirus patient ends up in a hospital, it is the nurses at the frontlines who are responsible for their care and treatment, putting themselves at risk in the process. We can’t say ‘thank you’ strongly enough.”

The City of West Hollywood encourages residents and community members to participate during this day of celebration while still adhering to LA County Safer At Home Orders and social distancing requirements. Suggested forms of participation include amplifying posts on social media channels, making yard or window signs and banners, participating in a coordinated daily applause or shout out for nurses and healthcare workers, and donating to organizations that are addressing the emerging needs of nurses and healthcare workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) health pandemic.

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is the nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than four million registered nurses in the United States. Registered nurses comprise one of the largest segments of the U.S. workforce and are the primary providers of hospital patient care, delivering most of the nation’s long-term care. In nursing, where workers are on the front lines of patient interactions, women make up more than 85 percent of the workforce. This year, with the onset of coronavirus, nurses have stepped up and shown the incredible impact they have on our healthcare system. It is more important than ever that we recognize National Nurses Day and celebrate the significance of nurses every day.

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Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions



Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.

TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.

There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.

Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.

As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.

We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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