COVID-19 Outbreak at Collin County Senior Living Facility Claims Five Lives

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A Collin County senior living facility announced Wednesday that five residents have died of COVID-19 following an outbreak last week.

Now, several other families are anxiously awaiting updates after their loved ones tested positive for the virus, some even requiring hospitalization.

“Before I could even think about what was happening, she was gone,” said Terry Spears.

It happened in less than two weeks. Mrs. Betty Simmons was rushed to the hospital last Monday, passed away on Friday and was laid to rest Wednesday.

“I wanted that last hug. I wanted to be able to see her in person again,” said Spears. “She is in Heaven and she’s with my dad but the last few days before her death were torturous for her.”

Spears said her 87-year-old mother is among a number of residents at Garnet Hill Rehabilitation and Skilled Care in Wylie who have died of COVID-19.

Spears said she only found out her mom had the virus from the hospital.

“They knew immediately in the ER that she already had pneumonia from it [COVID-19] so she had been very sick for a few days with no communication to the family, which is shocking,” she said.

The facility went on to test residents for coronavirus last Tuesday where a spokesperson says 31 tested positive.

That number now stands at 38, including five residents who have died, the facility’s spokesperson told NBC 5.

Collin County’s Novel Coronavirus website cites two residents’ deaths at the facility.

Simmons’ death location on the website was posted as ‘hospital.’

Nash House said her 85-year-old grandfather with dementia is one of the facility’s two hospitalized residents.

“He’s in the hospital. He’s septic. He’s fighting for his life,” said Nash.

She said the family was not immediately notified he was COVID-positive and believes her grandpa wasn’t monitored closely enough for worsening symptoms.

“He can’t speak for himself,” she said. “We’re just scared. We’re scared, we’re emotional. We’re frustrated. We’re really agitated with the nursing home and the situation itself.”

A spokesperson at Garnet Hill said all COVID-positive residents were moved to an isolated unit, adding staff and residents are being screened multiple times a day for symptoms.

The outbreak has left some families in mourning and others pleading for answers.

“Breaks my heart for these families,” said Spears. “I know how it feels.”

The senior living center also reports 13 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, two have recovered.

When it comes to each family’s criticisms, Garnet Hill Rehabilitation’s spokesperson said they cannot comment about specific cases, citing patient privacy rules.

The facility wants any concerned families to know they will be reaching out in the coming days to answer any questions.

The facility also said in a statement to families: ''Please be assured that we are following all of the recommended guidance from CDC and are working tirelessly in the battle against COVID."

Click here to learn about COVID-19 cases at state-supported living centers, state hospitals, nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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