CHICAGO (WLS) -- The daughter of a man who died from coronavirus at Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion in Logan Square said the nursing home withheld information about the virus from family until shortly before he died.
Manuel Vasquez danced his way into his 81st year, happy as he'd ever been. He'd called Woodbridge home for the last 16 years.
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"This was so unexpected," said his daughter Mildred Martinez. "I'm very grateful he got to do his last dance with my sister."
Weeks later, COVID-19 locked down nursing homes like Woodbridge, sealing them off from family and friends. Mildred and her siblings called almost daily.
"Every time I called my question was 'Any positives?' Any positives we have to be aware of?" she said. "We figured if there was anything going on then we could probably make advance arrangements for him and then probably take him home."
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But she said they were told everything was fine until April 27, when she called and found out an employee had tested positive for the virus and her father had COVID-19.
"I said, 'So can you tell me how long this has been going because I have been calling here constantly,'" she said. "Every time I call it's been 'No.' She was like, 'I'm sorry if they've been lying, but your father was positive.'"
In a statement, Woodbridge's administrator said in part, "We received Manuel Vazquez's test results late April 26th, 2020. We provided the news to Manuel Vazquez's Power of Attorney on April 27th, 2020. Our staff members did a face-time call... and added Ms. Martinez to the call on April 27th, 2020, to provide the test result news and allow the family to ask questions."
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"I saw him last, I saw him last Monday through FaceTime because I demanded that they FaceTimed with me," Mildred said.
Vasquez died late Tuesday night.
As of May 1, state data on nursing home cases showed Woodbridge had more COVID-19 cases than any long-term care facility in Illinois. Those cases include Richard Redmond's brothers.
"When I heard the report of 151 positive tests, I was very alarmed," he said.
According to state data Vasquez's death would be at least the seventh COVID-19-related death for Woodbridge residents.
The administrator at Woodbridge said they sent letters to families of all their residents April 16th notifying them of COVID-19 cases.