VOX POPULI: Doctors to Pacifica — ‘It’s Unsafe to Transfer ICF Residents Now’

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Traci Imamura of Save Our Seniors spoke for the families of the residents during a Feb. 19 protest outside Sakura ICF in Boyle Heights. (MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

The following letter was sent to Pacifica Companies on March 23.

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We are physicians providing medical care for the residents at Sakura ICF (Intermediate Care Facility) either as primary care physicians or as specialists for consultations.

We firmly oppose the proposed closure of the ICF in such a hurried manner, especially in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We strongly feel that it is UNSAFE to transfer the ICF residents to other facilities before the COVID-19 infections subside completely in all facilities being considered.

There are now COVID-19 variants which may be more infectious and virulent. The efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines for 85 and older is not clear. The ICF residents are mostly over 85 and belong to the most vulnerable group.

Kei-Ai L.A. nursing home has been a disaster with 97 deaths so far due to COVID-19. There has not been enough transparency about the COVID-19 status at Kei-Ai L.A. nursing home. It is not a place we can recommend for transferring our ICF residents.

It is amazing that there has been no resident contracting COVID-19 at the ICF, which is clearly due to the tireless efforts by the management and staff. The ICF is currently the safest facility for seniors to be at within Los Angeles County. It is a life-or-death decision when and where the ICF residents should be transferred.

Please keep all the residents at the ICF until the pandemic is officially declared to have ended by the CDC.

                   Sincerely yours,

                   Randal P. Arase, M.D., General Surgery

                   Kenji Irie, M.D., Family Medicine

                   Keith S. Iwata, M.D., Internal Medicine

                   Takeshi Matsumoto, M.D., Internal Medicine

                   Sumi Kawaratani,M.D., Family Medicine

                   Ronald Shigematsu, M.D., Family Medicine

                  Patrick Takahashi, M.D., Gastroenterology

                   Stefani Takahashi, M.D., Dermatology

                   Mike A. Uyeki, M.D., Internal Medicine

                   Barry W. Goy, M.D., Radiation Oncology

President, Japanese American Medical Association

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