SOUTH BEND — All Kristin Billings knows is that her mom, who’s frail and missing part of a lung, has been diagnosed with the coronavirus and remains inside the Cardinal Nursing and Rehabilitation Center amid what appears to be an outbreak there.
Billings had not been able to speak with her mom at the nursing facility, on 1121 E. LaSalle St., near the South Bend Clinic, as of early Tuesday afternoon.
She said she got a phone call from staff at Cardinal on Monday afternoon informing her that her mom, Joann Orr, 64, had tested positive for COVID-19 and that other residents there also had tested positive.
Orr told her people in “astronaut uniforms” went through on Sunday and swabbed residents to test for the virus.
“She’s freaking out,” Billings said, “especially now that she’s got the virus.”
St. Joseph County health officials on Tuesday announced a second death at a "local long-term care facility" — an elderly man with several health issues — but have not yet named the facility. The deputy health officer, Dr. Mark fox, did confirm that there is only one outbreak in a local long-term care facility.
Also, on Monday afternoon, Fox had said that broad testing of residents and staff had begun Sunday at the facility, which was having an outbreak of the infection.
Sherri Davis, a spokeswoman for American Senior Communities, Cardinal’s parent company, would not confirm that the South Bend facility on LaSalle is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak.
She emailed a statement from the company that said in part: “The health and wellness of our residents and employees remains the top priority. We are in close contact with local and state health authorities and following their guidance along with national and CDC recommendations and mandates.”
In the statement, American Senior Communities also said it continues to follow preventive measures, including daily assessments of those at risk; screening of employees and essential visitors; prohibiting communal dining or activities; ensuring all employees wear masks and follow infection control policies; and enforcing a strict no-visitor policy except for end-of-life situations.
Fox has said the care facility has about 100 residents. On Monday, 29 residents had tested positive, and more positive test results had come back on Tuesday, although Fox said he was unsure of the number of additional positives.
Fox said the long-term care facility has a plan in place to isolate infected residents, and the health department has supplied staff members with more personal protective equipment.
Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box on Tuesday authorized long-term care facilities to transfer, discharge, transport or relocate patients in efforts to reduce COVID-19 risks in facilities. The goal is to help facilities group residents who have tested negative to protect them from infection and better serve those who have tested positive.
Billings said she had been told Monday that Cardinal wanted to group infected residents on one floor of the facility.
Billings also said she was told her mom, Orr, was asymptomatic Monday, although she had a fever of 101.6. Orr has had cancer removed from her lungs and suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, Billings said. She said her mother told her she could hear people “hacking” with coughs that sound like “barking.”
Billings hasn't been able to see her mother for the last six weeks, after long-term care facilities instituted no-visitor policies to try to prevent coronavirus outbreaks.
“I think it’s just a freaking mess and I can’t go in there and investigate,” Billings said.
Ami Jaworski, of South Bend, said she last talked to her mother, Laura Biggs, 62, a resident at Cardinal Nursing, on Thursday, when she seemed fine.
On Sunday, Jaworski said, Cardinal left a voice message saying they wanted to update her on her mother's condition. Jaworski missed the message initially and didn't notice it until the following day.
"They were very short, didn’t say anything about an outbreak," she said. "I had no clue the virus was going on there. I still don’t know about that from them."
On Monday, a call came from a doctor at Memorial Hospital to inform her that her mother was there. She learned that her mother had been found unresponsive at the nursing 安徽福彩快3走势图 on Sunday and was transported to Memorial. Test results were positive for coronavirus. Her mother is in the intensive care unit now and on a ventilator, Jaworski said.
“They have to keep her sedated. They said she’s very, very sick," Jaworski said. "It’s just amazing to me how fast this happened. She was laughing and being stubborn, a couple days later she’s on life support.”
Now, Jaworski can only wait for updates, as her mother has to remain isolated. She wishes she had received more information from Cardinal.
"I think they should be open to telling people what’s going on," she said. "People need to know that their loved ones are OK."
St. Joseph County currently has 264 confirmed cases of coronavirus, a number that has increased shortly in recent days in the wake of the long-term care facility outbreak.
The county overall has attributed five deaths so far to COVID-19.
Statewide, there are 8,527 cases with 387 deaths.
Elkhart County is reporting 100 positive cases with three deaths, while LaPorte County has 36 cases with three deaths. Marshall County has 17 positive cases with no reported deaths.
In Michigan, Berrien County has 105 reported positive cases with five deaths, while Cass County has 13 cases with one death.