EVERETT — In 26 years as administrator of Sunrise View Convalescent Center and Retirement Villa, Diane Lopes said Sunday, she’s “never seen anything like this — and am as scared as any of you,” after 10 people associated with the facility tested positive for COVID-19 virus, including one who died.
The death, a man in his 70s with underlying health conditions, occurred Friday, according to the Snohomish Health District. As of Saturday, the latest statistics available, 10 deaths in Snohomish County have been attributed to the virus.
“Of course we have many cases as we house the most vulnerable folks in our communities,” Lopes said in an e-mailed statement. “And if your loved one is sick with a virus, or anything else, you call us for help. I am proud of the work we are doing. While many are working from home, not working, and following all the recommendations that change daily: WE ARE GOING TO WORK. We are exposing ourselves daily and potentially our loved ones to CARE for those in need. Some staff are scared to come to work, so those of us that are taking the risk are doing the majority of the work.”
Sunrise View at 2520 Madison St. in Everett offers studio and one-bedroom retirement and assisted-living apartments, rehabilitation and long-term, palliative and hospice care, according to its website.
Lopes called the facility “an epicenter of care.”
“I hear lots of love and support from the community — thank you — but, better yet, consider dropping off a box of groceries for my staff,” she wrote. “Do you really want them to stop at the store on their way home?”
The facility is almost out of protective equipment, Lopes said. A woman from the community dropped off some homemade cotton masks and is making more, she said. The health department said it would get her equipment “soon,” she said.
“Haven’t looked up the definition but yesterday would be nice,” Lopes wrote. “Am I exhausted — absolutely, am I scared — yes as I feel very responsible and helpless at the same time for staff and residents, am I sad — definitely, and now I am mad. Not sure what stage of grief that is.”
The health district Saturday reported another death, a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions connected with the Josephine Caring Community in Stanwood. It was the 17th confirmed case and second death connected to that facility. A man in his 80s with underlying health conditions connected to Josephine Caring Community died March 9 after being hospitalized.
Health officials have expressed concern about long-term care centers being particularly vulnerable to the virus’ spread. Nursing homes in Kirkland, Stanwood and now Everett have seen outbreaks of the coronavirus, with more than 50 confirmed cases in Snohomish County connected to the three facilities.
“I know that everyone is focused on the “number,” Lopes wrote. “I’d like to propose some other numbers. Let’s count how many supporters have dropped off safety glasses, gowns, gloves and masks they may have around the house to their local CARE center. How do we count the tears of scared staff members who are so overwhelmed by taking care of their sick residents? I am proud of the dedicated staff I work with and during this unprecedented time we will take one day at a time.”
Staff writer Julia-Grace Sanders contributed to this story.