CULVER CITY — The Culver City Senior Center will close until further notice as a precautionary measure after the first confirmed case of coronavirus within the city was announced by local health officials.
City officials said the first case of coronavirus within Culver City had been confirmed March 13. A second case was confirmed March 16. No further details on either case were released due to patient confidentiality.
At the Senior Center, the fitness, pool and computer rooms and all classes, programs, workshops and events, as well as any city-sponsored events and classes for people 50 years old and older have been canceled, according to a statement from the city, which added the entire building will be closed for older adult programming.
The senior center will continue to provide essential services, including lunch through an outdoor pick-up program and social services over the phone. Registered participants in the senior center nutrition program will be able to pick up lunches at the center on Mondays and Thursdays between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Frozen meals will be provided for days when pick-up service is not available, the statement said.
The city’s meal delivery program for housebound seniors will continue uninterrupted.
Mental health services, care management and other social service needs can be discussed with Special Services for Groups representatives, who will be available to receive calls between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. They can be reached at (310) 253-6717.
“City staff will continue to monitor the situation closely and will reopen the senior center when it is safe to do so,” the city statement said. “The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly, and staff will follow the recommendations and guidelines of L.A. County, the CDC and other authorities.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin announced that mobile showers, restrooms and regular trash pickup operations have started at two of the Westside’s largest homeless encampments.
“Public health must come first,” Bonin said. “Until we successfully provide an alternative to encampments, housing and services to bring people indoors, we cannot tolerate the public health risks of feces on our sidewalks or trash on our streets.
“To protect the public health of the unhoused and the housed alike, we need to provide basic hygiene services. It is humane and common sense.”
Bonin said his office has been planning the additional hygiene services for several months, and the installation had been scheduled two weeks ago, but the spread of the novel coronavirus underscored the need for the city to provide such services on a much larger scale.
“If we want to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the region, we need everyone to follow the advice of public health professionals,” he said. “These hygiene services will help prevent people who are unhoused from contracting or spreading the virus.”
People living in encampments near Third Street and Rose Avenue in Venice and on Venice Boulevard under the San Diego (405) Freeway overpass in Mar Vista will have access to a series of basic hygienic services, including:
• A standard mobile toilet unit, one ADA-compliant mobile toilet unit, and one hand wash basin that will be available at each encampment Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Mobile shower trailers will be located at Third and Rose every Tuesday and at Venice and Globe every Friday.
• And rodent-proof trash cans. The city has purchased 38 of the receptacles, and about half of them will be installed at the Third/Rose and Venice/405 encampments. The other new receptacles will be added to other strategic locations throughout the Westside.
A nonprofit organization called Five Keys will employ people living in encampments to keep neighborhoods clean, and crews will be working at each site for two hours a day, Monday through Friday, Bonin’s office said.
The cleaning services are slated to include sidewalk and gutter sweeping, litter removal, safe needle disposal and debris removal from city trash cans.
Venice and Westchester have both reported a coronavirus cases as of March 16, according to the county Public Health Department.
Saying dramatic rises in coronavirus cases should be anticipated given increases in testing, Los Angeles County’s public health director announced 50 new cases of the illness March 17, bringing the county’s total to 144.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer cautioned that the increase in the county’s cases — up more than 50% from the day before — should not be seen as a failure of “social distancing” measures that have been taken, such as closing bars and restaurants and cautioning against gatherings.
“If you look across the world, it generally takes three to four weeks to see the fruits of our labors,” she said.
She said most of the 50 newly identified cases are still being investigated to determine the patients’ source of exposure.
As of March 17, state health officials reported a total of 472 cases statewide with 11 deaths.
Mayor Eric Garcetti raised the city’s emergency response status to its highest level in order to be able to request more federal and state assistance to combat the outbreak.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, who runs the county hospital system, asked residents to preserve emergency room capacity at all area hospitals for those in need.
Like many of the roughly 100 hospitals across Los Angeles County, county hospitals will be canceling elective surgeries to increase capacity. The county is also increasing access to tele-medicine services.
Los Angeles County has closed all of its buildings because of the coronavirus. County hospitals and clinics will remain open. It’s not yet known how long the closures will remain in effect.
Major retailers such as Macy’s and Nordstrom have announced closures of all their locations nationwide.
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank announced March 16 a $250,000 gift from the Los Angeles Chargers to help ensure hunger relief services continue uninterrupted for Los Angeles County children, seniors, individuals and families amid the coronavirus crisis.
Northgate Gonzales Market chain will open all of its 41 Southern California locations one hour early each day for senior citizens and disabled customers. The chain has 19 stores in Los Angeles County and 13 in Orange County. Locations can be found on the company’s website. Vallarta Supermarkets and Super A markets also have implemented early opening hours for seniors and the disabled.
Wave Wire Services