EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Bryan Silva put on a face mask and got behind the wheel of his truck Sunday. A sign affixed to his rear window read, “RIP Mom.”

Silva’s 91-year-old mother, affectionately known as “Big Dot,” died Wednesday after contracting COVID-19. She was one of 28 residents at the Orchard View Manor in East Providence to die since the outbreak began. More than 100 residents at the home have now tested positive for the virus, along with 60 staff members.

Silva joined a procession of motorcycles, police, fire, family and friends as they rode by nine East Providence nursing homes on Sunday. City leaders organized the solemn procession to pay tribute to those living and working inside the facilities, which have been hit extremely hard by the pandemic.

As of Sunday, 113 of the state’s COVID-19-related deaths were connected to nursing homes; the death’s account for 75% of the state’s 150 fatalities.

On Sunday, Silva offered his gratitude to the workers at the home where his mom spent her final days, particularly one aide who comforted her in her final moments, when a ban on visitors forced him to stay away.

“This particular lady came in on her day off because she was so attached to my mother and she sat from 10 in the morning until 2:05 when my mother died, holding my mother’s hand,” he said, holding back tears. “She says, ‘All your mother did was take a nice deep breath and one tear came down her eye.’ This girl had to do this already 15 times in a two-week period. You have to be really grateful. These people are special people.”

Her son Dan Silva later wrote into 12 Remembers with a message about his mother:

“Mom, VoVo, Big Dot was a loving Mom, VoVo, Great VoVo and friend to all. She opened her heart and home to all that entered, with the only ticket in or out was an expression of love … in the form of a kiss on the cheek! We will never forget you, you will always be in our thoughts … we will love you always!!”

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According to the R.I. Department of Health’s medical director Dr. James McDonald, 39 nursing homes in the state currently have at least one case of COVID-19, and 29 have at least two cases. The health department released data Sunday night for 15 nursing homes described as having “clusters” of cases.

Homes like Summit Commons in Providence saw 35 new resident cases in one week’s time. Orchard View’s combined staff and resident cases nearly doubled, rising from 90 to 170.

Below are the nursing homes where RIDOH is monitoring clusters of COVID-19 cases. The health department has not released data for every nursing home that has a case.

  • Berkshire Place, Providence: 10 residents, fewer than 5 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Brentwood Nursing Home, Warwick: 15 residents, fewer than 5 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Charlesgate Nursing Center, Providence: 35 residents, fewer than 5 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Elmhurst Healthcare Center, Providence: 25 residents, 10 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Golden Crest Nursing Centre, North Providence: 85 residents, 35 staff, 26 deaths
  • Harris Health Care Center North, Central Falls: 10 residents, 5 staff, no deaths
  • Mount St. Rita Health Centre, Cumberland: 40 residents, 10 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Oak Hill, Pawtucket: 75 residents, 25 staff, 17 deaths
  • Orchard View Manor, East Providence: 110 residents, 60 staff, 28 deaths
  • Oakland Grove Health Care Center, Woonsocket: 40 residents, 15 staff, 9 deaths
  • Riverview Healthcare Community, Coventry: 20 residents, 5 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Scalabrini Villa, North Kingstown: 30 residents, 25 staff, 7 deaths
  • Stillwater Assisted Living, Greenville: 30 residents, 5 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Summit Commons, Providence: 70 residents, fewer than 5 staff, fewer than 5 deaths
  • Woonsocket Health Center, Woonsocket: 20 residents, 10 staff, no deaths

On Friday, RIDOH Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott unveiled a new plan to establish so-called “strike teams” to respond to the needs of nursing homes, and said they are now planning to test and re-test people more often to quickly identify where the disease is spreading in the future.

On Thursday, she announced Oak Hill would become a specialty treatment center where residents discharged from the hospital could recover without infecting others.

The state has also licensed 960 new people to work at congregate care settings, waiving training requirements for certified nursing assistants whose licenses may have lapsed in the last two years.

Eli Sherman, Walt Buteau and Steph Machado contributed to this report.