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16 People Sick Following Birthday Party at LA’s Trump National Golf Club

Several people who were at the March 8 event tested positive for COVID-19

A rocky shoreline and, above, a manicured golf course and club area.
Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles
Trump National Golf Club
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

More than a dozen people are reportedly sick after an early March event held at the fine dining restaurant of Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, the wealthy standalone city in the southwest corner of Los Angeles County. The exclusive event, a 70th birthday party for former Rancho Palos Verdes mayor Susan Brooks, has seen 16 of its 65 attendees fall ill, with several of those cases now confirmed to be COVID-19.

Easy Reader News was the first to report on the health scare, which stems from the event on March 8. Brooks, who has since tested positive for COVID-19, told the News that she cautioned event-goers to stay home if they felt sick in any way, and advised in a message to attendees that they keep a respectful distance throughout the event. The group included a variety of mostly older people from around Rancho Palos Verdes, including current Fourth District county supervisor Janice Hahn, who is now self-quarantining at her home. Two unidentified male guests have been hospitalized and are on ventilators, reports the News.

At the time of the March 8 event, global leaders were already calling for restrictive measures and social distancing efforts in their own countries — Italy quarantined the northern half of its country the same day — though the United States, and Los Angeles in particular, did not begin to issue any sort of similar guidelines until days later. (The city did declare a state of emergency on March 4, but was not at the time discouraging public gatherings or dine-in restaurants.)

In the News article, Brooks outlines just how easy it was for so many to fall ill at the event, even with her suggestion to distance while in the same room. “Maybe the virus was passed around by the hors d’oeuvres tray,” she notes, before adding: “There were people mad at me because I didn’t invite them. But they’re not mad at me now.”