Deceased Palisades Senior Living Facility Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19

By Sam Catanzaro

A resident at a Pacific Palisades senior living facility recently passed away and then tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to Mike Gentry, Senior Vice President of Care at Atria Park of Pacific Palisades, on April 13, a resident of the assisted living facility passed away. This resident received a positive test for COVID-19, but the cause of death was determined to be related to an underlying preexisting health condition, Gentry told Palisades News.

“The health and well-being of Atria residents and employees is our first priority,” Gentry said. “Our hearts go out to all their family members and loved ones. We have notified the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and are working with them to take the necessary steps to protect and support our residents.

While Atria Park of Pacific Palisades is not included in the Department of Public Health’s (Public Health) list of institutional settings with confirmed COVID-19 cases, the agency’s director admitted that this may be incorrect.

“I do not know anything about the unfortunate incident,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Public Health Director speaking at a Tuesday press conference. “We often have to go back in and correct information, particularly if a person has tested positive after they have passed away…We are always happy to be corrected.”

Palisades News has followed up with the Department asking if they have received information about Atria Park’s case, but the Department could not immediately be reached.

According to Gentry, as of Wednesday, no other resident or employee has tested positive for COVID-19 at Atria Park of Pacific Palisades.

“Our primary concern right now is supporting our residents and employees,” Gentry said. “We continue to closely monitor the situation at the community, regional and national level. We are working tirelessly to ensure we have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed; provide around-the-clock support to our communities; communicate regularly and transparently with our residents, families, employees and state and local health officials; and actively develop new ways to keep our residents and employees safe.

COVID-19 cases in institutional settings like Atria Park is an issue the county is grappling with. Speaking at the news conference Tuesday, Ferrer noted that the county is investigating COVID-19 cases at 269 different institutional settings.

“One of the issues in any pandemic is that it really highlights all the cracks that existed and how we are organized as a society. And one of the cracks is how we, in fact, support those who are older and medically fragile and in need of a significant amount of care,” Ferrer said. “I think we have to look at what we pay employees, how much technical assistance we are able to give at these sites, what does it mean to be able to do a really top-notch infection control facilities that often feel like they are struggling just to get reimbursed for their costs.”

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