The coronavirus outbreak hits home as an APU student tested positive for the virus and the city of Azusa confirms its first case


Azusa Pacific’s Medical Director, Todd Emerson, D.O., confirmed in an email to students Friday that an APU student had tested positive for COVID-19. According to the email, the student lives off campus.

“We learned for the first time that an APU student tested positive for COVID-19,” Emerson said. “Given the spread of the virus worldwide and in Los Angeles County, we are not surprised and were prepared for this.” 

Emerson also said that if the university learns of additional positive cases, they will not notify the entire community unless the situation poses an impact community-wide. 

“We are grateful that the student, who lives off campus in Azusa, is doing well and we ask you to continue to pray with us for all those fighting this disease,” Emerson said. 

The confirmed case of COVID-19 at APU comes just one day after Azusa City Manager Sergio Gonzalez announced that an Azusa resident had tested positive for the new coronavirus, making it the first official case in the city. 

“As more and more testing becomes available, it was a matter of time that we had a local case reported,” Gonzalez said in an official release from the city of Azusa. “We hope the infected individual is well and makes a full recovery.” 

In the release, Gonzalez also stressed the importance of maintaining good hygiene and complying with the Safer at Home order issued last week. 

“Social distancing is the strongest tool we have right now,” Gonzalez said. “We must continue to be vigilant not only for our own health but more importantly, our most-vulnerable elderly residents.” 

On Friday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 249 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 1,465, with 21 percent of those cases hospitalized. Additionally, public health officials confirmed 26 deaths, five more than the confirmed deaths on Thursday. 

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that one of the deaths was a resident of Azusa’s neighboring city Glendora.    

A Health Officer Order that will temporarily close beaches and hiking trails was issued by the County on Friday. The order was issued after COVID-19 cases skyrocketed and more crowds flocked to public spaces last week. 

“The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn in a news release. “I understand that this is a huge sacrifice for everyone who enjoys going to our beaches. But we cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus. This closure is temporary and we can always reopen these beaches when it is safe to do so.”

The news release also said that parks around the city and county will continue to remain open, but officials require that people practice social distancing at all times. 

“The new Health Officer Order is in line with our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County,” said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health Director. “Please practice social distancing when you do go outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. That means staying at least six feet away from other people.”

During this time of increased spread of the virus, the Public Health Department issued guidance for those that may feel sick or experience symptoms. 

“If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen,” the department said.

The new Health Officer Order is effective immediately until April 19.