[Updated] Mayor Terry Tornek said on Monday that although retail businesses have started reopening — along with the popular Rose Bowl Loop — the city is not proclaiming victory against the Coronavirus.
“We’re not doing this because, we’ve beat it,” Tornek said. “We’re doing it because we think we have a better handle on what the rate of infection is. If the rate of infection gets away from us and it explodes on us, then we’re right back to where we were in terms of the danger of overwhelming the medical system and not having enough ventilators and not having enough ICU beds.”
According to Tornek the city is in better shape since the pandemic started. The city has more PPE and 250 unused beds at the Convention Center, which has been converted into an alternative care facility that would be activated should the number of Coronavirus cases overwhelm nearby Huntington Hospital.
“We’re somewhat better prepared than we were at the start, but this is like a freight train,” Tornek said. “If it starts to get away from us, we could really be in trouble.”
On Monday, the city reported its first local death caused by the virus since Thursday, May 6.
“We are seeing a decrease in new cases in LTCFs [Long Term Care Facilities] as a result of our focused efforts in facilities with at least one reported case,” said the city’s health director Dr. Ying Ying Goh. “The average 3-day percent change in new cases at LTCFs dropped from 28.0 percent on April 14 to 2.9 percent on May 4.”
Goh refused to call the four days of no fatalities a “trend.”
Last Friday, 50 local businesses including bookstores, clothing stores, sporting good shops, music stores and toy stores reopened for business.
All business must be done in parking lots or curbside, with customers secure in their car to guarantee social distancing as employees load products in the trunk of the vehicle.
Customers are not allowed inside stores.
On Monday, the city took another step forward when City Manager Steve Mermell and the council came to an agreement on how to reopen the popular Rose Bowl Loop.
According to a city staff report, nearly 2,800 people travel to the location daily.
The loop has been closed since late March, after people hanging out there on two consecutive weekends did not follow social distancing guidelines established in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Safer at Home order.
“I do think that people will police themselves,” said Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton. “Knowing the severity of this virus now, I hope no one is going to put themself in danger.”
More businesses could open soon.
On Monday guidelines to reopen restaurants were released. The city’s hundreds of restaurants have suffered tremendous financial impacts since the pandemic forced the city to shut down dining rooms.
Meanwhile, officials in Los Angeles County sent shockwaves across the nation when the county’s health director said the order there could be in effect through July.
Pasadena has its own health department, but has worked closely with county and officials from Long Beach and the city of Los Angeles.
And there is still a long way to go statewide. There has been no word on when, or how, schools will reopen or large scale events like the Rose Parade, which is the city’s most iconic event.
“We’re kind of tiptoeing into the water,” Tornek said. “If it seems to be okay and there’s no undertow and there’s no predatory fish then maybe we can go on a little bit further, stay a little bit longer, but this is not one of those deals where you can just run headlong and dive in because then it’s too late.”