Coronavirus update for residents of South LA

UPDATED 2/18/20:  This advisory has been updated since it was first published on Feb. 7 to reflect the most current information.


Willowbrook, Feb. 11, 2020 -- In light of the spread of the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) wishes to advise residents of our Service Area as to health precautions they can take and MLKCH’s response and preparedness efforts.

COVID-19 is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that’s a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past. The disease is caused by a virus called 2019-nCoV. Symptoms of this virus can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble.

Most who are infected with the virus develop only mild disease. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal. 

Currently, there are currently no known exposures to COVID-19 at our hospital.  There have been only eight confirmed cases in all of California. There has been only one confirmed case in Los Angeles County and that patient arrived from China and went from the airport directly to a hospital (where they remain).

The risks of exposure to COVID-19 remain low.  Those most at risk are older patients or those with other medical complications. MLKCH continues to work in close partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to monitor the situation closely and to take measures to ensure the health and safety of our community.

As part of our response, MLKCH emergency department staff are asking a simple set of screening questions to patients as they enter our hospital.  If any patient presents with fever or cough, they will be masked.  If they present with symptoms and have recently traveled from mainland China, they will be placed in a private room.

MLKCH has highly trained physicians, nurses and staff who are fully prepared to treat infectious diseases.

Residents of South LA should know that the same standard health practices that help to prevent the spread of the flu (influenza) can also be used to prevent COVID-19, including:

•    Regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water 
•    Coughing and sneezing into your sleeve
•    Staying up to date on immunizations and flu shots
•    Remaining at home if you are ill and avoiding large events and crowded areas

If you have recently traveled to China and are experiencing a cough and a fever please call your primary care physician or immediately alert staff if you show up at an emergency department.

For information on LA County’s response, please visit the LA Department of Public Health’s information page.

For daily national updates on COVID-19, please visit the CDC site

For more information on MLKCH’s response, please contact: Gwen Driscoll, senior director of brand communications, MLKCH: 310-720-4441 /

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