LITTLETON, Mass. —
A nurse at a Massachusetts nursing home who spoke out about the conditions at the facility, which has been accused of negligence during the coronavirus outbreak, has died of COVID-19.
Maria Krier worked at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley until she got sick last month. She died Friday, just days after saying she felt management had no experience with infectious disease, and that contributed to the spread of the virus.
“We kept waiting for the ball to drop. Like, when are you going to tell us we’re exposed to it?” Maria said by telephone.
Life Care said Krier became ill two weeks ago and had been with the company for a short time.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of one our associates during these challenging times the country is experiencing,” stated Kate O’Connor, regional vice president. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends.”
Of the 204 employees who work at the facility, 75 are out sick. Fourteen employees have tested positive for coronavirus and another 17 are out with doctor’s orders, the company said.
“We are fighting a virus that is still largely unknown, and our nurses and staff continue to provide the best care given the guidance we have received from both federal and local health agencies,” O’Connor said.
Life Care Center said it is now asking that all staff members be tested for the virus.
“To date, testing has been limited in order to prioritize the most vulnerable residents of the state. Last week, working with the Massachusetts National Guard, we completed full testing of all residents within the facility,” the company said.
As of Friday, 10 residents have died from COVID-19, and 67 residents have tested positive for the virus, some of whom are being treated at local hospitals.
“My heart is with Maria Krier’s family and loved ones. She is a hero in our community, and we are all mourning her loss,” reads a statement from Rep. Lori Trahan, who represents the 3rd District of Massachusetts. “Maria showed tremendous courage when she blew the whistle on the outbreak at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley. Her urgent concern for her fellow nurses and the residents at the facility is a testament to her character and the values that she held.
“We owe it to Maria and to all those that have passed away from COVID-19 at LCC-NV to demand more from the leadership of Life Care. Transparency is paramount during this pandemic, and the health care workers who show up each day along with the families of those still at the facility deserve to know that Life Care is doing everything they can to stop the spread of this virus and prevent additional losses of life.”
Littleton officials have accused Life Care of failing to cooperate with health agents.
They said when public health officials started working to identify close contacts with one person who tested positive, investigators “were stonewalled by officials at Life Care Centers.”
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