Most of RI’s COVID-19 deaths are associated with nursing homes

Coronavirus

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ As the coronavirus continues to affect the state’s most vulnerable population, the families of residents living in Rhode Island nursing homes are growing worried for their loved ones.

Lucille Avelar’s mother, Lucilia Gomes, is a resident at Golden Crest Nursing Centre in North Providence, where 19 residents have died due to complications related to COVID-19.

Gomes, an 85-year-old mother of four, has dementia, is immobile and can no longer speak for herself. Avelar said she’s worried her mother is in danger.

Lucille Avelar and her mother Lucilia Gomes. (Courtesy: Lucille Avelar)

“She’s my mother, and I have to protect her like she has always protected all of us,” Avelar said, adding she hasn’t been able to visit her mother in a month. “I’m just worried. Every day I’m like, ‘Is she going to be positive [for COVID-19] today?'”

Avelar said her mother tested negative for the virus last week, but she said that could easily change because of the dozens of patients and staff with the virus at Golden Crest.

“She’s not safe there because there were like two or three cases in her unit and now there’s a lot more,” Avalar said. “How is that possible?”

Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the R.I. Department of Health, on Monday said 55 of the state’s 73 COVID-19 related deaths are associated with nursing homes.

In response to a request from WPRI 12, the Health Department released the numbers of cases and deaths at each Rhode Island nursing home Monday. (A spokesperson cautioned that the numbers are approximate because they are constantly changing.)

  • Golden Crest Nursing Centre, North Providence: 80 residents and 30 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. 19 people have died.
  • Oak Hill Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, Pawtucket: 70 residents and 25 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. 16 have died.
  • Orchard View Manor, Riverside: 75 residents and 15 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Six residents have died.
  • Oakland Grove Health Care Center, Woonsocket: 40 residents and 10 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than five residents have died.
  • Riverview Healthcare Community, Coventry: 20 residents and five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than five residents have died.
  • Elmhurst Healthcare Center, Providence: 20 residents and fewer than five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than five residents have died.
  • Mount St. Rita Health Centre, Cumberland: 15 residents and 10 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than five residents have died.
  • Brentwood Nursing Home, Warwick: Five residents and fewer than five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. No one has died.
  • Harris Health Care Center North, Central Falls: 15 residents and fewer than five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. No one has died.
  • Scalabrini Villa Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, North Kingstown: 30 residents and 25 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fewer than five residents have died.
  • Summit Commons Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, Providence: 25 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. No staff members have tested positive, and no one has died.
  • Woonsocket Health and Rehab Center, Woonsocket: 10 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. No staff members have tested positive, and no one has died.

Avelar said she wants to ensure her mother remains isolated at Golden Crest, and that no one with the virus enters her unit.

“I have to do something. I don’t know what to do,” she said. “I really don’t want to be pointing the finger at anybody. I just want her to be safe.”

Avelar said she calls the facility for updates on a daily basis, but she is growing more concerned for her mother’s wellbeing.

WPRI 12 has reached out to the administrator at Golden Crest for comment and is waiting to hear back.

Steph Machado contributed to this report.

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