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Government program hopes to find important minerals right under our feet



In a remote and densely forested area of ​​northern Maine, trees hide a critical resource for combating climate change. In November, scientists from the United States Geological Survey, or USGS, announced the opening rocks rich in rare earth elements near Mount Pennington. A category of metals that play an important role in technologies ranging from smartphones to wind turbines to electric vehicle engines, rare earths are currently only mined in the only site in the US. Researchers now say a location that has been geologically ignored for decades may be at the next big deposit, although more research will be needed to confirm this.

While the US government Annoying deficiency metals and minerals needed to make the transition from fossil fuels, it also lacks the basic geological knowledge needed to tell where many of these resources are. Less than 40 percent of the country has been mapped in sufficient detail to confirm the discovery of new mineral deposits, hindering the Biden administration’s plan to increase internal mining energy transition metals such as rare earths and lithium, which are an important component in electric vehicle batteries. But the administration and Congress are now trying to fill the cards, increased funding for the USGS Earth Resource Mapping Initiative, or Earth MRI.

Geologists Chunzeng Wang and Preston Bass in a field near Mount Pennington. Bass carries a portable gamma spectrometer. USGS

A partnership between the federal government and the State Geological Surveys, Earth MRI was established in 2019 with target improving America’s knowledge of its “critical mineral” resources, list of dozens of minerals considered vital to energy, defense and other sectors. The initiative hummed quietly, providing about $11 million a year until 2022, when Earth MRI received approval. additional inflow of $320 million., for five years, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021. Since then, magnetic resonance imaging of the Earth has gained momentum, and the USGS has launched dozens of critical new mapping efforts from Alaska to the Great Plains.

The USGS will look for minerals both in the ground and in abandoned mines, where there may be valuable metals found in piles of toxic waste. The deposits they discover could eventually be mined by mining companies, though experts say lawmakers and regulators will need to carefully weigh the benefits of mining against its social and environmental costs.

For now, says Earth MRI science coordinator Warren Day, the goal is to do something that has never been done before. “No one has ever mapped all of the nation’s critical minerals,” Day Grist said. “It’s a huge undertaking.”

Indeed, the process of mapping the Earth is laborious and time consuming: geologists must be sent to the field to record observations and locate geological features such as faults, make measurements, and interpret the landscape in detail. These interpretations can be supplemented by laboratory analyzes of soil and rock samples, as well as data collected from aircraft and other remote sensing instruments. It may take researchers several years to synthesize all this information into a map with a resolution of one inch to 2,000 feet, the standard scale at which government geological surveys operate. economical in my opinion. But they often serve as a starting point for private companies to conduct more detailed research work.

“Our part is to determine the geological basis in which deposits can be,” Day said. “Private business is taking that and trying to identify resources.”

This industry-led exploration could take several more years, after which it could take up to ten years to get a permit and build a mine, says Allan Restauro, metals and mining analyst at energy consultancy BloombergNEF. The discrepancy between the time from exploration to production and expected short-term growth demand for energy transition metals has led many experts to predict that we will see a shortage of resources like lithium over the course of a decade.

“Even if something is discovered right this very moment, it may not become a real mine until after 2030, when demand will skyrocket,” said Restauro Gristu.

To help close the gap between mineral discovery and future demand, Earth MRI scientists are aiming to gather as much raw geological data as possible. The federal government is contracting private companies to conduct airborne geophysical surveys—launching special instruments over a region to measure specific properties of the rocks underfoot. The main USGS approach is to use what is called airborne magnetic surveying to measure small changes in the Earth’s magnetic field that are related to the magnetic properties of local rocks. In some cases, the agency also conducts radiometric surveys that detect naturally occurring radioactive releases from rocks and soils containing elements such as thorium and uranium. These elements may indicate the presence of specific mineral types of interest: for example, thorium is often found together with rare earth elements.

A helicopter with a boom carrying sensitive equipment for airborne geophysical research.
The boom of this Earth MRI helicopter contains sensitive equipment for conducting airborne geophysical surveys.

While the USGS conducts aerial reconnaissance, state geologists are sent into the field for detailed surface mapping and sampling.

Earth MRI scientists have identified over 800 destinations nationwide – regions with at least some potential to host critical minerals. Thanks to the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the overall budget for the initiative has increased to $74 million per year From 2022 to 2026, efforts to survey all of them “intensified significantly,” says Jim Faulds, president of the American Association of Government Geologists. About twice as many states are now involved in mapping projects than they were before the law was passed, and individual projects receive three times as much funding as they used to. This is expected to be a big boon for western states such as Nevada and Arizona, which have only a quarter to a third of the country mapped in detail and are among the most promising places in the country to find energy transition metals.

“Many western states are rich in minerals,” Faulds said. “But we don’t necessarily know where these minerals are.”

Even in places where large mineral deposits have already been discovered, we do not always have detailed maps of the region. This is the case in the Tucker Pass region near the Oregon border, which has some of the largest lithium resources in North America, as well as area of ​​west-central Nevada with large deposits of lithium. Research work in these areas, funded by New Earth MRI, will help determine the extent of these resources, says Faulds, who runs the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

In the eastern US, where some states are relatively well mapped, there is still potential for new discoveries. For example, geologists had no idea that the Pennington Mountain region in northern Maine contained rocks rich in rare earth elements: Earth MRI funded the project in the area because elements such as copper and manganese were previously mined in it. Anji ShahUSGS geophysicist who participated in the study.

“When we chose this area, we were thinking about these particular mineral resources,” Shah said. “Only when we got [airborne survey] data, and we noticed some anomalies, to which we said: “Hey, this could be a high content of rare earth elements.” Subsequent work in the field and in the laboratory confirmed not only elevated levels of rare earth niobium another zirconiumminerals used in jet engine components and nuclear control rods.

A fine-grained volcanic rock found on Mount Pennington in Maine containing rare earth elements, niobium and zirconium. USGS/Chunzheng Wang, University of Maine-Presque Isle

Discoveries like these could eventually lead to the creation of new mines and new domestic supply chains for critical minerals. key policy objective the Biden administration. But as companies begin to demand that these rocks be dug out of the ground, the administration will have to think carefully about how to balance its climate and national security priorities with the potential harm from mining that could degrade local ecosystems, cause air and water pollution, and transform rural communities. Projects that are not carefully sited are likely to meet local resistance, as evidenced by the proposed lithium mine at Tucker Pass, which recently began construction despite fierce opposition from conservationists, a local rancher, and Native American tribes.

“We are going to discover many more deposits” using magnetic resonance imaging of the Earth, said Thea Riofrancos, a political scientist at Providence College in Rhode Island who studies the relationship between resource extraction and green energy. But the benefits of extracting these minerals, according to Riofrancos, “should not be assumed.”

Riofrancos would like the government to think holistically about the best and worst places for mining, perhaps integrating maps of mineral deposits with maps showing biodiversity, water resources, historically marginalized communities and indigenous lands where most transition metal mining takes place today . , according to recent training. (Day says the USGS always gets tribal consent before it maps reservation lands.) Keeping all of these factors in mind when deciding where to allow new mining will help minimize harm, Riofrancos says.

One of the most attractive places for the extraction of energy transition metals may be abandoned mines that have already degraded. For example, coal mining waste can be enriched in rare earth elements; Scientists at the Department of Energy are currently developing the best ways to extract them. A few years ago, Shah and her colleagues discovered that mining waste from abandoned 19th and 20th century iron mines in the eastern Adirondacks of New York is also enriched in rare earths, in particular the so-called heavy rare earths, which are more valuable from an economic point of view.

Riofrancos sees the USGS’ inclusion of mine waste in its mapping work as a positive sign. “The more industrialized an area is, the less new damage mining causes,” she said, adding that it is possible to recover new metals from mine waste in tandem with environmental cleanup efforts.

But ultimately, it will be up to private companies to decide, based on the array of new information the government is gathering, which areas it wants to explore for possible mining. And right now, Faulds says, “there’s a lot of interest at all levels” in Earth MRI data.

“I would say that companies are under pressure,” he said.

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Recycling American Chicken Dung Sounds Great, Unless You Live Next Door | pollution



TueWhen Emani Dorival moved to Seaford, Delaware, she was greeted with a terrible stench. The smell came from the rows and rows of chicken coops that house thousands of birds and are located next to mobile home parks, churches and single-family homes in this predominantly rural area.

“It’s like feces mixed with rotten eggs,” said the Haitian native. “It’s part of the environment. People get used to it. I can’t get used to it.”

Seaford is located on the Delmarva Peninsula, a region that annually produces billions of pounds of chicken meat for America’s dinner tables. But all this meat production has a dirty legacy, represented not only by the pairs of ammonia storage dumped by poultry farms, but also by the hundreds of thousands of tons of bird droppings, sludge, eggshells and other detritus generated annually.

Perdue Poultry Farm in Bridgeville, Delaware on the Delmarva Peninsula, a region that annually produces billions of pounds of chicken for America’s dinner tables.

A new industrial use for chicken waste is currently being considered, but this could create new problems for the working rural region: a planned large-scale biogas plant will convert 250,000 tons of chicken waste into methane and other by-products annually. Environmental and human rights groups have disputed the plan, saying it would increase air and water pollution and pose a significant health risk to nearby residents, many of whom are black or immigrants from Haiti and Latin America who speak little English.

Dorival, a family nurse practitioner who runs two clinics in the region that cater mostly to immigrant poultry workers, questioned why the proposed biogas system was planned close to home. “In my opinion, every person should have the right to clean air, water and food, and he does not need to fight for this right,” she said.

Emani Dorival at the regional clinic she runs, which primarily serves immigrant poultry workers.
Saturday service at Ebenezer Haitian Church, a mile and a half from the planned biogas plant.
Above: Emani Dorival, a family nurse, said she saw many people in her clinic with chronic conditions, including childhood and adult asthma. Below: Sabbath service at Ebenezer Haitian Church, a mile and a half from the planned biogas plant.

The planned Seaford Bioenergy Innovation Center will be built on a 225-acre site where Bioenergy Devco, a potential biogas plant owner, is currently composting. The hotel is surrounded by wetlands, freshwater ponds and residential areas, including a mobile home park within walking distance.

The question of what to do with all the poultry waste in the region is already facing the local population. Currently, manure is often applied to fields as fertilizer, but this creates environmental problems because manure contains nitrogen and phosphorus, which can drain into waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, and are harmful to fish and crabs.

Ducks swim in the Nantikoke River, which flows through the towns of Blades and Seaford.
Surplus wastewater from the proposed biogas plant will be treated and discharged into the Nantikoke River, which flows through the towns of Blades and Seaford.

The proposed biogas plant’s proximity to the region’s waterways, as well as black and immigrant communities, also worries local environmentalists. The Delaware chapters of the ACLU and NAACP were among those who applied. complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year, alleging that the local government discriminated against residents of color by not translating educational materials, not offering opportunities for public participation, and not accepting residents who do not have internet access. The complaint was initiated by the Socially Responsible Agriculture project.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control declined to comment. A Sussex County spokesperson said the county does not comment on pending or active legal issues. In response to questions about its plans at Seaford, Bioenergy Devco, which is not named in the EPA complaint, said it was “committed to keeping our community informed about the site,” citing a public document it submitted during the permit process. . He also encouraged residents to attend his events.

According to the American Biogas Council, an industry trade association, there are about 2,300 biogas systems in operation in the US. While most systems recycle wastewater or operate in landfills, about 300 are located on farms. In North Carolina, residents filed a civil rights complaint against one such project, arguing that a plan to convert pig waste into biogas would pose a pollution risk to nearby black and Hispanic communities. And in California, groups are fighting biogas production at industrial dairy waste plants near low-income, predominantly Hispanic communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

Biogas plants present various potential risks to the environment. Such systems can emit greenhouse gases and threaten water supplies. Biogas is also potentially explosive.

Bioenergy Devco estimates that the new biogas system at Seaford will result in chicken waste being trucked to the plant nearly 200 times a day. The methane produced at these facilities will also then be transported as compressed gas to a regional gas pipeline, and excess wastewater will be diverted for treatment and discharge into a nearby river. Residents are concerned about this near-constant flow of heavy vehicles.

Maria Celios, 32, plays outside at the Sussex Manor mobile home park with her son and daughter.
Maria Celios, 32, lives with her family in the Sussex Manor mobile home park, a mile from the planned biogas plant.

“They’re trying to put them in places where they think people don’t care,” said Leon Lofland, 71, a black truck driver who lived in Sussex Manor, a mobile home park that spanned dozens of trailers about half a mile away. from the proposed biogas system within a decade.

Lofland opposes the biogas plant. “They don’t show us any respect,” he said.

His neighbor Maria Celios, 32, lives with her four children and her husband in a three-room mobile home in the park. Outside her trailer, a pink toy car was parked by a tree, and a pink scooter lay on the lawn. Her husband has been fixing a tire on a car he uses to transport workers to and from a nearby poultry farm, the Mexican immigrant said, speaking in a mixture of Spanish and English. She said she was particularly concerned about the increase in truck traffic.

“I don’t want trucks on my street because of my kids,” Celios said, recalling a child being hit by a car a few years ago on a busy street next to a park. She said government officials were disrespectful by not meeting with the public to explain the plan. “We are immigrants, but we have rights,” she said.

Maria Celios, 32, with her son at the Sussex Manor mobile home park.  She is concerned about increased pollution and truck traffic in the area due to the proposed project.
Maria Celios, 32, with her son at the Sussex Manor mobile home park. She is concerned about increased pollution and truck traffic in the area due to the proposed project.

On a nearby street, Sharon Smith, a black woman, 48, who works in a container manufacturing plant, wondered if the new facility would pollute the water. “I don’t think I want it because I don’t want them to spoil my water,” she said, noting that she wants to learn more about this plant.

IN environmental assessment The paid Bioenergy Devco found that the facility would not cause significant air or water pollution. Environmental groups, however, say the company’s application for the permit is incomplete, inconsistent, incoherent and legally dubious. They say anaerobic digesters have been shown to contribute to nitrate pollution, which can seep into groundwater; that converting biogas to methane will lead to emissions that will affect air quality and contribute to the climate crisis; and that the approximately 60,000 gallons of sewage generated each year would add to the pollution of an already distressed river.

Michael J. Kliman, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Davis, who has researched the air quality implications of biogas production and use, said after examining the plans that they appear to “appropriately address all air-related issues.” and water pollution.

“Obviously it will be an industrial facility, but I see no immediate reason to be concerned that it will worsen air or water pollution in the nearby region,” he added.

The Perdue AgriBusiness grain complex is visible in the distance in the Seaford, Delaware area.
The Perdue AgriBusiness grain complex is visible in the distance in the Seaford, Delaware area.

“It can be done with minimal environmental impact if it is designed and operated correctly,” he said in an email. “But with a better planning process, this facility could have been placed further away from residential areas.”

The surrounding community is within 5 miles of various identified sources of pollution, including hazardous waste and abandoned mines, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. V Blades groundwater superfund website runs along Seaford. Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the population is at high risk of chronic disease and vulnerable to environmental risks.

Other residents of the Sussex Manor mobile home park said no government agency or Bioenergy Devco came to explain the plan to them. It was only in recent months that activists learned about this, although the plan was proposed back in 2020.

Sharon Smith, 48, and Rich Ames, who live in the Sussex Manor mobile home park, say they only recently learned about the project.  Smith wondered if the new venture would lead to water pollution.
Sharon Smith, 48, and Rich Ames, who live in the Sussex Manor mobile home park, say they only recently learned about the project. Smith wondered if the new venture would lead to water pollution.

Dorival, a medical practitioner, said she has seen many people in her clinic with chronic conditions, including asthma among children and adults. She said patients who worked in poultry farms had already inhaled toxic fumes at work.

She argued that any new pollution caused by the new biogas system would simply exacerbate the environmental hazards that the people of Seaford were already exposed to. “These people are already in a vulnerable state,” she said.

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What you need to know about PRP for IVF and Fertility



Fertility treatments are scary. Most of us are accustomed to taking medicine in pill form with a simple sip of water, so we’re moving into the world of syringes, needle sticks, and vaginal ultrasounds that can happen daily around ovulation. can make you feel more like a science experiment than a parent.

You might think that emotionally drained infertility patients would refuse any treatment that is not considered necessary. But many of us are leaning towards them, asking our doctors and any other health care providers who will listen to suggest something to us that could increase our chances of success, even slightly.

Patients with infertility usually turn to acupuncturephytotherapy, massage, attentiveness and other treatments, despite mixed or scant evidence of their effectiveness. If the proposed treatment does no harm and there is even a small chance that it might help, patients feel compelled to try it. There is an impulse to leave no stone unturned, especially when insurance caps or finances limit the number of IVF cycles you can have.

In recent years, platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been added to the list of concomitant treatments that some patients seek in hopes of increasing their chances of IVF success.

What is platelet-rich plasma treatment?

PRP Therapy takes a small amount of the patient’s own blood, taken in the same way as for laboratory analysis, and centrifuges it at high speed. This separates the various components of the blood, resulting in a portion of plasma (the liquid part of your blood) with a very high concentration of platelets.

We usually associate platelets with blood clotting, but they are also part of the body’s repair system and integral to injury healing. Because PRP is derived from your own blood, it carries less risk than other elective treatments such as drugs or surgery.

The patient’s blood is centrifuged to obtain platelet-rich plasma.

What is PRP used for?

PRP was not intended as a fertility treatment and is currently only offered by some fertility clinics.

“In fact, it has been used in dermatology, plastic surgery, orthopedics, and only recently has it been used in fertility treatments.” Dr. Molly Quinna reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility in California, HuffPost told HuffPost.

Orthopedists, for example, may suggest a series of PRP injections to help heal a rotator cuff or anterior cruciate ligament injury, or after surgery. PRP is also used to promote hair growth and in hair transplants.

In terms of infertility treatment, doctors have tried to inject PRP at two different sites, usually either before or during an IVF cycle. First, in the uterus to support the growth of the endometrial mucosa and make it more receptive to embryo implantation; and second, to the ovaries to support the development of healthier follicles capable of producing eggs that can eventually be fertilized to produce healthy embryos.

If you have had previous failed or canceled IVF cycles that your doctor believes were caused by insufficient endometrial growth (the lining of your uterus did not get thick enough) or a poor response to follicle-stimulating drugs (your ovaries did not produce very many eggs), some fertility doctors may suggest PRP.

When injected into the ovaries, PRP is administered several months prior to IVF treatment. When injected into the uterus, PRP is administered during the course of IVF treatment, often shortly before the transfer of the embryo into the uterus.

Because PRP is considered an experimental fertility treatment, you may be eligible to participate in clinical trials. Otherwise, the procedure will most likely not be covered by your insurance, price you anywhere from 300 to 1600 dollars out of pocket.

Do we know if PRP is effective?

“There are studies [the] the use of platelet-rich plasma in both places that have been published, but they are quite minimal,” Quinn said. The fertility clinic where she works does not provide treatment at this time.

Since there is no evidence for the effectiveness of PRP, “I would not offer it to patients outside of the clinic.” IRB approved research,” she said.

Dr. Jason Franassiaka reproductive endocrinologist at the RMA in New Jersey, said many studies related to PRP have not been done. randomized controlled trials, known as the gold standard in scientific research. His clinic, however, completed “a randomized control trial of intraovarian injection of PRP … in young patients with poor ovarian response.”

The trial was designed to test if “using PRP for ovarian injections can restore some of their ovarian function.”

“Unfortunately, the results of this study showed that there was no increase in the number of mature eggs or chromosomally normal embryos as a result of PRP injection into the ovary,” Franasiak said.

Because there is no benefit seen from this, and transvaginal ovarian injections are an invasive procedure, his clinic does not currently offer this treatment to patients. However, they are working on a study on “intrauterine PRP for endometrial insufficiency,” Franasiak said.

“In fact, we currently have a double-blind, randomized controlled trial that is ongoing and enrolling. We are looking at patients who have had their embryo transfer cycle canceled due to thin uterine lining.”

Once the results of this and other clinical trials are published, we will know more about which patients, if any, could benefit from PRP treatment.

Is ovarian rejuvenation possible?

If you search the Internet for information about PRP, you will find several clinics using the phrase “ovarian rejuvenation”, implying that PRP can make your eggs younger.

Females are born with all the oocytes (eggs) they will ever have. Unless you use a donor egg or thaw frozen eggs, your eggs may only be the same age as you.

“I don’t think ovarian rejuvenation is something we can really achieve,” Quinn said.

Unfortunately, older eggs are less likely to lead to pregnancy, and such pregnancies are more likely to end in miscarriage. However, there is no single, predictable age at which fertility ends – everyone’s body is different. We know that, as a rule, a woman’s fertility declines after the age of 35 (but this also varies). Taking into account the results of your blood test and the results of any previous treatments you have had, your doctor can help you develop a personalized treatment plan. In some cases, this may include egg donation and/or surrogacy.

“Infertile patients are vulnerable,” Quinn said. “Unfortunately, fertility treatment has really become big business. Because I think the by-product is that everything goes down the pipeline. [and] patients are being offered a treatment that has not really been properly tested.”

She continued, “Patients may not realize how little data there is to support any proposed intervention.”

Doctors often tell patients that they can use additional therapies such as acupuncture or vitamin supplements, which are considered very low risk, even if they don’t believe they will work. However, with the injection of PRP into the ovaries, Quinn said she would like to see data on infection risk before recommending this treatment to her patients.

If IVF doesn’t work, what are my options?

If you have had an unsuccessful or canceled IVF cycle, your doctor may change the medications used in a future cycle based on your past results. Endometrial growth can be stimulated with estrogen supplements, which are often one of the drugs prescribed during an IVF cycle.

Quinn said it’s important to recognize that “the thickness of the uterine lining doesn’t entirely predict whether or not someone will succeed.” Scar tissue or certain diseases can cause mucosal problems that affect fertility. However, in “the majority of cases where an embryo transfer has failed, it is usually a reflection of an unhealthy embryo,” she said.

“The main predictor of success is the quality of the embryo,” Quinn said. Pre-implantation testing can help determine “whether an embryo will be genetically balanced”, but she noted that such testing is “imperfect”.

“So [genetic testing] by itself probably does not guarantee success,” she explained. Another factor that determines the quality of embryos is the age of the individual when they provide the eggs used to create the embryos. This does not mean that eggs from older patients will never become high quality embryos, just that it is less likely than eggs from younger patients.

While we often see celebrities giving birth well into their 40s, we don’t know how many of them have used donor eggs to achieve their pregnancy. CDC has on IVF Success Evaluator a tool you can use to predict your chances of having a baby with your or donor eggs.

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Los Angeles healthcare operators charged with 14 COVID deaths



On Tuesday, operators at a high-profile dementia care facility in Los Angeles were charged with elder abuse and other felony charges related to the death of an employee and thirteen residents in the early days of the pandemic.

Silverado Beverly Place, near the Fairfax area, specializes in caring for the elderly with Alzheimer’s and dementia and was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.

An employee and residents died during the outbreak, when 45 employees and 60 residents were infected, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. The operators of the facility were sued in civil court by the family of several residents and the deceased employee. The object was the subject of a 2020 Times investigation.

The facility was supposed to be closed to visitors, prosecutors said, when a patient from a New York psychiatric ward was admitted there. Silverado Beverly Place’s own protocols required it to keep anyone out of a high-risk area like New York City, which at the time was considered the epicenter of COVID-19.

Prosecutors say the patient was not tested for coronavirus when he was admitted to the hospital and developed symptoms the next morning. But after they tested positive, they were not placed in quarantine, according to the criminal charge.

The prosecutor’s office claims that the institution’s management did not block visitors who traveled within the country or abroad for 14 days to areas where cases of COVID-19 were confirmed.

“These careless decisions created conditions that unnecessarily exposed Silverado personnel and residents to serious injury and, unfortunately, death,” Dist. Atti This is stated in the statement of George Gascon.

The three managers were charged with 13 counts of felony endangering the elderly and five counts of misdemeanor resulting in death. The latest charges were brought in connection with the management of the company’s health and safety of employees. Lauren Bernard Shook, Jason Michael Russo, and Kimberly Cheryl Batrum were charged, along with Irvine-based Silverado Senior Living Management Inc.

Prosecutors say the New York City patient was admitted to Silverado Beverly Place for financial reasons.

Investigators from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health conducted a 2.5-year investigation into Silverado Beverly Place, whose parent company operates several health care facilities across the country.

An email to Silverado Senior Living Management asking for comment on the allegations received no immediate response.

Gascon also read out the names of the 14 dead during a press conference in downtown Los Angeles.

These nurses are Brittany Bruner-Ringo, Elizabeth Cohen, Joseph Manduke, Catherine Apotaker, Jake Khorsandi, Albert Sarnoff, Dolores Sarnoff, Myrna Frank, Frank Piumetti, Jay Tedeman, Luba Paz, Kay Kiddu, Richard Herman and Michael Horn.

Bruner-Ringo told her mother that the newly admitted patient was showing signs of illness – profuse sweating, a “productive” cough and a temperature close to 103 degrees, her mother told The Times.

“I said, ‘It’s definitely problematic,’” recalls Kim Bruner-Ringo, an experienced nurse in Oklahoma City.

The patient was so ill that Brittany Bruner-Ringo called 911 for an ambulance, but it was too late. In the days and weeks that followed, the virus spread throughout the facility.

According to her family, Bruner-Ringo stopped breathing on April 20, 2020 in the intensive care unit at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. she was 32

“I just prayed every day that Brittany could tell her own story,” her sister Breanna Hurd said.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Alan Eisner, who is not involved in the case, said the allegations are unique because they concern decisions made by senior care facility leaders in the early days of the pandemic.

“This is a once-in-a-generation pandemic,” Eisner said. “I don’t want to ignore all the people who died. But this is a high bar that prosecutors must prove and show that the institution is responsible for the death of all other patients and even a nurse.”

Jody Moore, an attorney representing seven clients who either became ill with COVID-19 or died in Silverado, said that by early 2020, the federal government had provided guidance to long-term care facilities on how to protect older residents, including screening and testing policies.

“It doesn’t make sense to say loved ones can’t get in, private caregivers can’t get in because their paperwork says we’re putting residents at significant risk by exposing them to what can enter through the front door.” Moore said. “What they let in through the front door was someone with dollars attached. And that’s what’s really egregious misconduct here.”

Helena Apotaker received an email from the institution in the early days of the pandemic informing her that she would not be able to visit her mother Katherine. The announcement said the facility is being closed for the safety of elderly residents.

“No one was allowed in,” Apotaker told The Times. “They were going to protect our loved ones. This was their top priority. Well, not 30 days later, I think they lost their top priority.”

According to Apotaker, her mother had early stages of Alzheimer’s but was generally in good health. After her mother tested positive for COVID-19, Apotaker placed her mother in hospice and was finally allowed to visit in person.

“I was in the building with my mother for a week when she died,” Apotaker said. “I can’t imagine what it was like for everyone who had to watch their parents die through a window or watch their loved ones die on FaceTime.”

Upon hearing the news that Silverado Beverly Place was under criminal investigation, Apohacker was filled with a sense of justice because it seems that people have forgotten about the pandemic and the people who have died.

“But I remember that my mother died,” she said. “The only thing I had to hold on to was the thought that maybe one day I would get justice.”

Times Staff Writer Harriet Ryan contributed to this report.

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