coronavirus illinois

After Positive COVID-19 Test, WWII Veteran's Family Wants Answers From Long-Term Care Facility

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The family of a World War II veteran who has been diagnosed with coronavirus is asking questions of the long-term care facility where their father has been staying.

James Baldwin, a patient at Burbank Rehabilitation Center, was taken to Christ Hospital on Saturday with a high fever.

“They wanted to know if they could send him to the emergency room, and I said ‘of course,’” Antoinette Wheeler, Baldwin’s daughter, said.

On Sunday, test results for the 95-year-old Baldwin came back positive.

After that, Wheeler says she contacted the nursing home to inform them of the positive test, and to request that Baldwin’s wife be moved out of their shared room, on advice from physicians.

When she called, however, she was surprised at how little staff knew about the situation.

“Two different staff members told me they had no idea that my dad tested positive for COVID-19,” Wheeler said. “Why don’t they know? They’re in that room with him. They could be infecting their families.”

Those weren’t the only questions that Wheeler had about the diagnosis.

“How did he test positive?” she asked. “Did someone on staff bring it in? Was it a doctor or a nurse? Or was it someone from the hospice group?”

In a statement, the facility’s management said that they had anticipated eventually having to deal with positive cases of the virus, and are following guidance from national and local health officials.

“Over four weeks ago, we proactively initiated and implemented increased infection prevention strategies and practices prior to any identification of any case, which included symptom screening of staff and residents, enhanced environmental cleaning and disinfection and visitor restrictions,” the statement read, in part.

For Wheeler, that explanation isn’t enough, and like so many families across the country, she is upset that her family can’t be with their father when they believe he needs them most.

“I’m a daddy’s girl, so not being able to hug my dad when he’s sick…that’s breaking my heart,” she said.

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