GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Hands pressed against a window, saying a few heartfelt words, and then leaving.
That’s what these visits are like for Leigh and her sister at Glens Falls Center for Rehabilitation and nursing. Leigh’s sister suffers from dementia, but now she has a new condition –COVID-19.
“The only communication we have is by phone or through the window. So she could be cooped up in that room all day. I don’t know what kind of care she is getting,” says Leigh.
Nicole Adam’s grandfather is a World War II veteran. He was one of the first Glens Falls Center residents to get sick from the coronavirus. Nicole says she made sure to catch a scheduled conference call hosted by the facility held last Wednesday.
Anya: What did they tell you?
Nicole: So, at the time, 28 presumed and confirmed cases of their residents.
Anya: And how many deaths?
Nicole: At the time on Wednesday, two residents had passed away at the facility and one had passed away at the hospital.
Anya: What does that tell you?
Nicole: That tells me that the positive cases initially were not quarantined the way they should have been.
Even with the conference call, Nicole and Leigh’s biggest issue remains a lack of communication.
NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker has also had a time hearing back from the facility. She called several times and left messages for nearly two weeks after an April 15 interview with an administrator via Zoom.
“So, again, now we have the unit completely isolated where the residents are in the building confirmed,” Administrator Aislinn Smith said on April 15. “We are not seeing extreme symptoms, which is interesting.”
But, hours after Smith’s conversation with Anya, a resident there died of COVID-19. Her name was Anna Mae Dow and her family tells Anya that they took turns standing outside her window, so she wouldn’t have to die alone.
Anya: “Is communication really lacking with this nursing home and others?’
Nicole: “It is and I feel they are doing a lot of covering right now. They are trying to back peddle because so many people are becoming more aware of it going on.”
She says she realizes the staff is stretched thin and nerves are frayed. And that ensuring a quarantine in these facilities right now may be next to impossible.
Glens Falls Center sent NEWS10 this statement:
“Glens Falls Center, as per the New York State Department of Health and CDC guidelines, has been in full PPE since early March. Additionally, the facility has been doing building-wide testing and infection control with regards to cleaning that’s being conducted on a continuous basis. As per the New York Department of Health and the CDC in order to contain the virus, the residents are not to be moved within the facility given that all residents are presently in isolation throughout the facility and have been since early this month.
The staff at Glens Falls Center has been working tirelessly to give the best care possible to the residents and at the same time, trying very hard to take care of themselves.
We understand that families have many questions and various concerns during this unprecedented time and our Open Door policy is offered to everyone who has these questions. The health and safety of our residents and staff at Glens Falls Center is our number one priority always.”