Families Say They're Left in the Dark About Nursing Home COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

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Anxious family members with loved ones in nursing homes say they’re being left in the dark. Several in the Bay Area have reported multiple cases of coronavirus, but the state didn’t release those numbers until this weekend. 

“My dad is an immigrant,” said Perla Rodriguez. “He raised a beautiful family of three children with my mother.”

Antonio Rodriguez just turned 90 and is now in advanced stages of Alzheimers at the Valley House Center in Santa Clara.

In early April, a letter arrived saying a former resident tested positive for COVID-19 and says later, another letter said three staff members also had it.

Then over the weekend, the state released the raw numbers -- a total of 63 people at Valley House have coronavirus.

“It’s very stressful. It’s sad,” said Perla. “It’s nothing I have lived before.”

The new state numbers show 34 nursing homes in seven Bay Area counties have confirmed cases. Family members say they want more transparency about how often residents are being tested and how many have already died from COVID-19 -- information that’s still not available.

“It's very alarming and upsetting to see this in the news and read reports in the newspaper and not hear it directly from the facility,” said Perla.

In one letter, Valley Huse said it’s following CDC Guidelines and separating COVID-19 residents in different quarters. It’s also taking other precautions.

“Nursing homes absolutely are overwhelmed,” said Gregory Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, who is mandated by the state to investigate complaints at nursing homes.

Catholic Charities said that because of COVID-19, it can’t make in-person visits to investigate complaints.

“Each facility is required to report up to the state and that information is now readily available through the state of California,” said Kepferle.

Perla said all she wants is to know her dad is in good hands.

“Very loving dad,” she said. “Very responsible dad, and it’s our duty to take care of him.”

NBC Bay Area reached out to Valley House Center and have not heard back.

The State Health Department says it hopes to release death rates in nursing homes in the near future.

To file a complaint about a nursing home in Santa Clara County, click here.

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