In a get-what-you-pay-for world, the families of Silverado Beverly Place expect a lot.
The posh nursing home near the Fairfax district styles itself a geriatric luxury resort with 125 dementia patients offered gourmet meals, yacht trips, art shows, live entertainment and, as described by one pleased customer, the regular aroma of baking cookies.
The price tag can run north of $15,000 a month.
So it was with outrage and a sense of being cheated that some well-heeled Westside families greeted the news of an apparent outbreak of COVID-19 at the Silverado.
A man admitted to the facility last week tested positive shortly after his arrival and since then, a second resident and an employee have also come down with the virus.
Relatives have lashed out at management as incompetent and greedy for allowing a new resident — one apparently carrying the virus — to move in when the Silverado, like nursing homes across the state, was strictly limiting visitors to prevent infection.
“This was about money.... If they were thinking about our parents, none of this would have happened,” said the adult daughter of one resident. She and other relatives spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying they feared ramifications for their loved ones’ care.
In a statement, a spokesman for the facility’s parent company noted that the new resident had no symptoms at the time he entered the building and defended the company and administrators.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our residents and the associates who care for them each day, and we’re proud of our team’s dedication and professionalism during this pandemic,” said Jeff Frum, spokesman for Irvine-based Silverado, a privately held firm that runs 19 upscale memory care homes and 11 hospices across the nation.
Dozens of concerned and, in some cases, irate family members have confronted Chief Executive Loren Shook and a facility administrator in Zoom conference calls in recent days, according to four participants.
They described sometimes raucous discussions in which adult children of residents, a high-powered set that included entertainment industry players, business executives and at least one doctor, demanded answers.
At one point, they said, Shook told the crowd that by this point in the pandemic, the virus was so widespread in society that one might pick it up in Costco.
The Silverado is not Costco, someone shot back, according to attendees.
“It was just a blood bath,” said one woman whose mother lives at the Silverado. “One man said, ‘I am the CEO of a publicly traded company and you are tone-deaf. You should be embarrassed. You did this for greed.’ People were all over [Shook.]”
Socially distanced bikers and walkers, against a backdrop of the Queen Mary, make their way along pedestrian and beach bike path on the first day that Long Beach reopened the path on Monday May 11, 2020. The city of Long Beach eased a few of its public health restrictions, allowing under certain guidelines the reopening of pedestrian and beach bike paths, tennis centers and courts. Beach bathrooms are also reopening, but the parking lots and beaches still remain closed. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
Traffic remains light on the southbound 110 Freeway headed toward downtown Los Angeles on April 28. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Dominique Barrett, center, known as “King Vader” to his 2.4 million TikTok followers, prepares to shoot a video on April 30 in Glendora. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Cody Purcell of Redondo Beach rides a wave, glowing from the bioluminescence, in Hermosa Beach, CA, after midnight Friday morning, May 8. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)
Friends play spikeball, a game perfect for social distancing on an open but restricted San Buenaventura State Beach. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
The majority of golfers are wearing masks while hitting balls on the driving range at Van Buren Executive Golf Course in Riverside. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
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Tango instructor Yelizaveta Nersesova leads a Zoom tango event from her Los Angeles home April 27 that brought together hundreds of dancers from around the world. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Grocery store workers, joined by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 770 representatives and community members, hold a rally in support of strict social distancing on May 1 at a Ralphs store in Hollywood where 19 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
Mostly masked commuters keep their distance from one another on a Metro bus in downtown Los Angeles on April 29. (Gabriella Angotti-Jones / Los Angeles Times)
Gregory Kuhl, 69, heads home after a shopping trip in Hollywood on April 28. Big cracks in the street, cars parked in driveways blocking sidewalks and uneven pavement levels make navigating his route difficult. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Tenants and their supporters from across Los Angeles gather at city hall to call on L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, the L.A. City Council and California Gov. Gavin Newsom to cancel rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 crisis. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Aerial view of over 100 vehicles lined up at the West Valley COVID-19 testing center at Warner Center in Woodland Hills. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
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Norm and Tracy Kahn enjoy eating dinner outside on a small cafe table sitting in blue chairs on their side yard during the coronavirus pandemic on April 27 in Riverside. “During this pandemic, eating outside offers us an opportunity to change surrounding and appreciate the calmness of being outdoors among trees, scents from nature and the sounds of birds,” she said. Also adding, “Mixing up where we eat puts variety into our days and takes away the sameness of feeling trapped at home.” (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center nurses carry supplies outside the hospital. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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People make orders at a food truck along Shoreline Avenue in Long Beach. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Medical staff, wearing protective gear, work inside a COVID-19 isolation area inside the emergency department at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, where patients with the virus are being treated. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
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Counter-protesters attend a protest to call on state and local officials to reopen the economy in downtown Los Angeles. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
A group of protesters cheer on cars during a vehicle caravan protest to call on state and local officials to reopen the economy in downtown Los Angeles. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation staff member Navi Cavaltera waters a flower pot put up by the community to show their support for the nursing staff of the facility in Yucaipa. Eighteen of 20 coronavirus-related deaths in Yucaipa were residents of the skilled nursing facility. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
A pedestrian wearing a protective mask passes a mural on a store on Melrose Avenue in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Jonte Florence, a freestyle dancer, does a handstand on a mostly empty Hollywood Walk of Fame. Florence said he normally performs for hundreds of tourists along the busy street. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
The Tyrannosaurus rex overlooking the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue wears a protective mask while practicing social distancing. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Businesses are shuttered and pedestrians are few and far between on Hollywood Boulevard. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Daniel Rogerson wears a vintage military gas mask while riding a bike along the beach path in Santa Monica, which is closed to enforce social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A face mask seller in colorful dress appears to be part of a mural behind a bus stop on Soto Street in Los Angeles. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Life around Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard and Soto Street has slowed down as California officials extended stay-at-home orders into May and residents entered Easter weekend with unprecedented limits on their movements. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
UC Irvine Medical Center health care workers return their gratitude as about 25 Orange County first responder vehicles participate in a drive-by parade of gratitude as they battle COVID-19 at the hospital. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Billy Budd, 55, of Hollywood, walks along Hollywood Boulevard with a protective face covering. Budd is a scenic artist for movies and television who is currently out of work due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Stuart Reyes and his sister, Stephanie, sell masks for $5 each on the 3000 block of West Century Boulevard in Inglewood. Stuart Reyes said he is selling masks to support his mother. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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Alex Herron and nurse Mercy Pineda at a blood drive sponsored by USC athletics and the American Red Cross at USC’s Galen Center. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles City Hall displays blue lights to show support for healthcare workers and first responders. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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The Wilshire Grand Center display blue lights and a heart to show support for healthcare workers and first responders. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Women wear masks as they stroll along Highland Avenue in Hollywood. Wearing masks while outdoors is mandatory in the city of Los Angeles. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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A specimen is turned in at the new mobile testing site for people with symptoms of the coronavirus at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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A woman shows a notice from her doctor that allows her to obtain a test for coronavirus at a new drive-up testing site in a parking lot at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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A man works from his home in Long Beach. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
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A Metro general service employee disinfects a bench in Boyle Heights. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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A masked passenger on a Metro bus in downtown Los Angeles. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Dede Oneal waits for a coronavirus test at the Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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Hollywood Boulevard is devoid of the usual crowds. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Ray, 11, plays before a movie at the Paramount Drive-In. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Isabella Leader, 15, counts how many flags have been left for World War II veteran Lt. Col. Sam Sachs who was celebrating his 105th birthday at the Mom & Dad’s House, an assisted living facility, in Lakewood. Lt. Col. Sachs appealed to the public for birthday cards after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of a big celebration and wound up receiving thousands, including a letter and photo from President Trump. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Frum, the company spokesman, said that although most families were supportive and understanding, “there are a couple of family members that have high emotions over this and we respect that.”
Nursing homes, with their high concentration of the elderly and chronically ill, have been ground zero for the coronavirus. One of the deadly pathogen’s first footholds in the United States was at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., where two-thirds of the residents and 47 workers fell ill, and 37 people died.
Since then, outbreaks have been reported at homes in Long Island, Delaware, Missouri and Oklahoma. Officials in New Jersey announced Wednesday that all 94 residents of a Woodbridge nursing home were being evacuated after more than a quarter tested positive.
In Los Angeles, public health authorities are monitoring outbreaks at several assisted-living facilities including Kensington Redondo Beach, Belmont Village senior living in Hollywood and Alameda Care Center in Burbank.
The Silverado cited fear of COVID-19 on March 12 when it asked families to stop visiting the three-story building on North Hayworth Street. In the following days, the facility also canceled events and barred the private paid companions many families hire for additional help.
But seven days after it started limiting access, on the evening of March 19, the Silverado allowed an elderly man to move into a unit for people suffering from mild dementia.
Asked why the patient was admitted, Frum said he could not disclose details for confidentiality reasons, but noted that some dementia patients may display behaviors that “are tough to handle in the home setting,” particularly when many families are confined to their residences all day.
Within 24 hours, the man became ill enough that an administrator called 911 and he was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The next day, he tested positive for the virus.
On Thursday, Shook informed relatives by email that another resident and an employee who worked on two floors of the building were both positive.
Both residents have since been released from the hospital; the first is recuperating at another location and the second is in isolation at the Silverado. The worker is isolated at home, according to emails sent to residents’ relatives.
Frum, the company spokesman, said that the first man stricken was in isolation when he fell ill, but relatives said the nurse who runs the Beverly Place location told them in a conference call that the man had contact with other residents and staff during his brief stay.
Frum suggested the two others who came down with the virus did not necessarily get it from the new resident. He noted that Silverado employees come and go from the facility, interacting with their own family members and, often, taking public transportation.
Asked whether the three cases were related, he said, “We don’t know. There’s no way to tell.”
Silverado placed a 14-day moratorium on admitting new residents earlier this week.
The question of who should, and should not, be admitted to a nursing home is becoming a matter of heated debate between among industry leaders, many of whom are desperate to keep the deadly virus out of their nursing homes, and regulators trying to make sure there are places for people in need.
The latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, issued in mid-March, is for nursing homes to accept anyone they would “normally admit to their facility.”
At about the same time, the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, which runs 134 nursing homes, announced it would “suspend new admissions” owing to COVID-19 concerns.
The thorniest issue has been what to do with nursing home residents discharged from hospitals. Some homes are refusing to take residents back unless they have a test proving they are virus-free, and regulators in New York have ordered homes to accept residents returning from the hospital even if they are infected.
For the Silverado families, there is waiting and worry. No other residents are currently exhibiting symptoms and the facility has secured an agreement with a private lab to test residents “where appropriate.”