‘Heartbreaking’: Family describes not being able to visit loved one with COVID-19 in Visalia nursing home

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TULARE COUNTY, California (KSEE) – Skilled nursing facilities continue to be hit hard by COVID-19.

In Tulare County, 82 of the county’s 98 coronavirus-related deaths have been linked to nursing homes. As of June 16, the county’s Health and Human Services Agency reported 409 nursing home residents infected.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking,” said Susan Renteria.

Her mother, Wanda, is a resident at Linwood Meadows in Visalia. She says she tested positive for the virus on Friday. It was just a few days after her 84th birthday – and right before hers.

“It’s the first birthday of her entire life I haven’t gotten to spend with her and this is the first birthday of my entire life I haven’t spent with her,” said Renteria.

Tulare County reported eight COVID-19 related deaths and 42 cases at Linwood Meadows, including 11 employees.

“Wearing masks, washing your hands, isolating other patients that are positive: all of that is clearly not working at Linwood Meadows,” said Renteria.

“We are utilizing testing resources, staffing resources as well as protection equipment resources available to us to that facility to greater protect the health and well being of your loved ones,” said Carrie Monteiro with the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency.​

Monteiro said when Linwood Meadows employees got sick, administrators asked the county for help. Now members of the California Health Corp and the National Guard are filling staffing needs.

“These are medical professionals in the medical field who are trained and certified by the state to come into situations like this and properly train to do the measures of not furthering cross-contamination,” said Monteiro.

Meanwhile, ​Renteria says her mother has no symptoms and with her underlying health condition, she prays it stays that way.

“I know my mom, she is worried, she is concerned, I can hear it in her voice,” said Renteria.

Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency says it is in the process of testing everyone who lives in one of the county’s skilled nursing facilities. Officials hope to complete testing by the end of June.

Tulare County provided a breakdown of COVID-19 cases by facility:

  • Redwood Springs: 214 total cases (124 residents, 70 employees, 20 contacts), 32 deaths, 56 recovered
  • Linwood Meadows: 42 total cases (31 residents, 11 employees), 8 deaths
  • Lindsay Gardens: 114 total cases (71 residents, 29 employees, 14 contacts), 17 deaths, 84 recovered
  • Dinuba Healthcare: 86 total cases (67 residents, 18 employees, 1 contact), 11 deaths, 3 recovered
  • Sierra Valley Rehab: 98 total cases (76 residents, 21 employees, 1 contact), 12 deaths, 2 recovered
  • Kaweah Manor: 14 total cases (7 residents, 6 employees, 1 contact), 0 deaths

COVID-19 resource links:

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