Pasadena on Wednesday reported its first case of confirmed coronavirus, and hours later, a Beverly Hills church announced that its rector had also been diagnosed with the virus.
On its website, All Saints’ Episcopal Church said its rector, the Rev. Janet Broderick, fell ill shortly after returning from the annual conference of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes in Louisville, Ky. She was in stable condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, the church said, and was being treated “for a severe form of pneumonia.”
Pasadena’s first confirmed coronavirus case involved an individual “known to have close contact with a confirmed case outside of Pasadena, and has been in quarantine since the exposure occurred,” the city said in a statement.
Officials say they are working with others who came in close contact with the patient and who might be at risk of infection.
“We have been preparing and are ready to manage COVID-19 cases in Pasadena, in close coordination with our healthcare partners,” said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, director of the Pasadena Public Health Department. “We will continue to recommend our community implement individual and community mitigation measures to reduce the risk of spread of illness.”
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The World Health Organization declared the global outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday. The WHO hasn’t declared a pandemic since the H1N1 influenza or swine flu outbreak in 2009.
In the case of Broderick, the All Saints’ rector and the sister of actor Matthew Broderick, she returned sick from the Louisville conference and was initially treated for what her doctors believed was a “viral syndrome,” according to the church.
Their assessment was that her illness did not warrant further concern. Then, last Sunday, the rector of Christ Church Georgetown in Washington, D.C., who also attended the conference, was diagnosed with the virus. More than 500 Episcopalians from around the country had participated in the event.
With that in mind, Broderick sought further medical attention at Cedars-Sinai on Monday morning, the church said in its post.
“After an initial assessment, she was moved to the ICU and placed under isolation. At that point, her care team moved forward with a test for COVID-19.”
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The results, returned Wednesday, showed she had the virus.
In a statement, Broderick told her fellow church members that she is “through the worst of this and very very much on the mend.”
“I asked my kids to bring me a coloring book and a LEGO set if that is any indication,” she added.
Church offices will remain closed while its leaders await instructions from the Los Angeles County Health Department. Clergy and staff will continue working from home and be reachable via email and voicemail.
It was not clear whether Broderick’s diagnosis was included in the official count of confirmed virus infections in L.A. County, which was increased to 29 on Wednesday. Four of those cases were reported in Long Beach, and officials say many more across the state likely have the virus.
L.A. County announced the first death in Southern California linked to the illness. The woman was in her 60s and had underlying health issues.
The woman who died was not a county resident but had been visiting after extensive travel over the last month, including a long layover in South Korea, which has been a hotbed for the virus. One of the latest cases announced was the county’s second instance of community spread. That individual is hospitalized.
As the virus moves through the region — Orange County as of Wednesday night had six cases, Riverside County seven, Ventura County two — Los Angeles County has developed a risk-assessment tool that considers how many community transmissions there have been and whether new cases are accelerating, said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s health department director.
“We’re trying to use that to drive our judgments about when things need to close,” she said. “We will get to a point, unfortunately, here in L.A. County, where we will be asking for events to close. But we’re not there yet.”
Ferrer stressed the public’s need to be cautious in large gatherings and suggested that people assess themselves whether they should venture into crowded areas. Those who are pregnant, elderly or have underlying health issues are especially vulnerable to developing serious effects from the virus.
To date, the county’s public health lab has completed 72 tests for COVID-19. That number does not include those performed by commercial labs.
More than 1,075 Californians have been tested for the virus across 18 labs in the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said. The state is monitoring an additional 10,300 individuals who returned from California on international flights and might have been exposed.
Times staff writers Joseph Serna and Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.