Grandmother at Woodslee care home cleared of COVID-19, but questions linger

A Windsor man whose grandmother previously tested positive for COVID-19 at a long-term care facility in the region, says he’s received word from staff that her condition has been resolved, but that she won’t be returned to her original room quite yet. 

Gary Ruccolo was concerned about how his 93 year-old grandmother Lillian Pegg— who lives at Country Village Homes — was being treated, explaining that she was previously moved to a new room without a phone of her own, when she tested positive for coronavirus. 

Though Ruccolo’s grandmother has since been moved again, he said staff told him that she’s now sharing a room with another resident whose condition can’t be disclosed, despite his asking. 

“The biggest challenge has been transparency from the nursing home itself and just basic communication with my grandmother,” Ruccolo previously said, adding that he previously wasn’t able to call his grandmother and she wasn’t able to call him. 

Gary Ruccolo said he has been denied easy access to communicating with his grandmother since she tested positive for COVID-19. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

On Wednesday, Ruccolo said he asked staff why his grandmother can’t return to her original room, saying that he was told the old room has been given to someone else whose condition was resolved before hers. 

According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, at least 64 residents and 24 staff members at Country Village Homes have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Country Village Homes has the highest number of COVID-19 cases of all nursing homes in Windsor-Essex and it’s also one of the six long-term care facilities in Windsor-Essex with an active coronavirus outbreak.

In an email sent to CBC News on Wednesday, Country Village Homes spokesperson Jessica Trepanier, said all residents at the facility were tested for coronavirus over the course of April 11 and April 12. 

“While the team at Country Village awaited the results of these tests, and out of precaution, residents were isolated in their rooms, with meal service delivered to them,” wrote Trepanier, who works for Southbridge Care Homes, which runs Country Village Homes.

The biggest challenge has been transparency … and just basic communication …– Gary Ruccolo

“On April 17, County Village received the results of the tests. The team at Country Village took immediate action to develop new rooming plans to separate residents who had tested positive, from those who had tested negative.”

In a previous statement to CBC News sent on Tuesday, Trepanier said Country Village is working to keep residents connected to friends and family through phone calls, emails, texts and video chats.

“We have also established a dedicated phone line that families can contact if they have any questions about the health of their loved one or the care they are receiving,” wrote Jessica Trepanier, of Southbridge Care Homes, which runs Country Village Homes.

Ruccolo previously said he was only able to talk to his grandmother three times when she was moved out of her original room after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Twice thanks to a personal support worker letting her use her cell phone. A third time he got a call from her 20 minutes after complaining about the situation to the media, he said. 

As of Wednesday, 31 people in Windsor-Essex have died due to COVID-19 and 22 of those individuals were residents of long-term care or retirement homes.

Of the six long-term care facilities with an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, one resident died at Amica Riverside, five died at Heron Terrace, two died at Lifetimes, one at Sun Parlour and and zero have died at Franklin Gardens. 

It’s unclear where the remaining 13 residents have died. 

Throughout the pandemic, Country Village Homes has refused to provide details of the number of residents that have died there due to COVID-19. Instead, the long-term care facility has deferred all requests to the health unit. 

According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, County Village Homes is the only other long-term care facility where deaths have occurred. 

However, the health unit will not confirm how many residents died at Country Village Homes, citing privacy concerns. 


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