By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
On Monday, April 13, a resident at Atria Park of Pacific Palisades senior living facility who tested positive for COVID-19 died, Mike Gentry, senior vice president of care, confirmed to the Palisadian-Post.
After initially reporting the death as due to COVID-19, Gentry provided a revised statement on Wednesday, April 22, that though the resident received a positive test, the cause of death was determined to be related to an underlying, pre-existing health condition.
Gentry reported that the facility notified the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and is working with them to take necessary steps to protect and support residents. This is the first case of COVID-19 at Atria Park.
“Our hearts go out to all their family members and loved ones,” Gentry shared.
As of April 22, no other resident or employee had tested positive for COVID-19 within the facility.
“We continue to closely monitor the situation at the community, regional and national level as well as advocate for testing of our residents and employees,” Gentry continued. “We are working tirelessly to guarantee 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.”
Atria Park is a residential community that offers assisted living and memory care. It differs from a nursing home, its website explains, which is a medical institution.
Gentry explained that Atria Park is “diligently” following protocols of the Centers for Disease Control and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“At this time, neither has recommended testing of other residents or staff,” Gentry explained.
When the Post spoke to Atria, testing was reserved for people with symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, according to the LA County COVID-19 website.
Palisadian Peter Drasnin, whose in-law is a resident at Atria Park, explained to the Post that he was very comfortable with the safety of his relative and how the facility was handling the situation, which Drasnin reported was being done transparently. He spoke at lengths with the director of the facility, who explained that Atria had disinfected all areas.
“Atria Park is the gold standard for assisted living facilities,” Drasnin added. “They are some of the nicest, most skilled and caring group of individuals I’ve ever come across.”
In response to COVID-19, Atria facilities banned non-essential visitors for the indefinite future beginning March 12. Ten days later, the facility began taking quarantine measures to help keep employees and residents safe, according to its website, which included limiting residents to their apartments and taking temperatures twice per day, as well as checking the temperature of essential visitors who enter the building.
Employees are reported to receive symptom screenings three times per day, including a temperature check. In-room meal service continues to be provided.
Gentry shared that their primary concern right now is to support residents and employees.
“We will continue to work with the Los Angeles County Department of Health,” he said, “and are committed to sharing updates with our community as they become available.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information provided by Atria Park representatives that was received after the Post went to print on Tuesday evening. The cause of death, originally reported by Atria to be due to COVID-19, was updated to be due to an underlying, pre-existing health condition, though the resident received a positive test for COVID-19.
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