One Pacific Palisades resident is living a nightmare and unable to help her elderly mom. Sharon Piehl described the situation in a May 13 email to Circling the News:
“My mother is in an assisted living facility [in L.A. County] and found out today more of the caregivers have tested positive and six residents are ill. There have been two deaths, yet the director of the facility is telling me they cannot get anyone in to test the residents. I find this hard to believe. I thought when a facility had three or more people affected, that testing was going to be done by the county.”
Piehl wondered if CTN knew anyone she could call to get testing accomplished. She had been on the phone with “211” for an hour and 45 minutes when she finally got through, the operator sent an email link to see if the County would send someone out.
“Once the assisted living place reported to the county, they should have sent someone to do the testing,” Piehl said. “They are supposed to be tested every two weeks.”
Piehl spoke to the director at the assisted living facility, who told her that she had filled out the form twice, but there has been no response from the County.
On May 7, a CBS story (“Nursing Home Residents Now Account for Over Half of All L.A. County Coronavirus Deaths”) noted that “about 718 residents of L.A. County’s institutional settings have now died of coronavirus, Ferrer disclosed, the vast majority of which lived in nursing homes. That accounts for 51 percent of all the coronavirus deaths in the county.”
Said Piehl: “In general, residents in assisted living centers are not being tested and just dying. So frustrating. I don’t know what to do.”
She said called her mom’s primary care physician and asked if Kaiser could send someone to the facility to test her mom. He said, “No, they only test if she has symptoms.”
“I can’t get her to the free testing without exposing myself,” said Piehl, who knows her mom is at high risk because of her age, underlining health issues and living arrangements.
“I am sure I am not the only person going through this, but this is why there is such a high death rate at these places,” Piehl said and added that she did call another number that was given to her by the City and she reached someone in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office. “He did not take my name or anything, but said he would express my concerns about the lack of testing.”
This story has already been sent to Councilman Mike Bonin, since Piehl is a constituent, to Mayor Eric Garcetti and to the L.A. County Department of Public Health in hopes that they can help Piehl.
Councilman Bonin’s Field Deputy Lisa Cahill responded immediately. “Thanks for alerting us to this. I’ve added Fernando Morales, District Director, and Zachary Gaidzik, Westside Rep, from Supervisor Kuehl’s office. I had a similar issue come across my desk recently and Fernando was incredibly helpful in connecting them with LA County’s DPH.
Update: Fernando Morales responded at midnight: “Thanks, Lisa and Sue. Sue, do you happen to have this constituent’s contact information so that I can help connect to the Department of Public Health and Health Services?”
Morales was given Sharon’s information this morning and CTN thanked him for his quick response.