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'This is not a joke' - COVID-19 patient found unresponsive in nursing home by sister

Patient lives in hard-hit nursing home
Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 18:53:39-04

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH — The sister of a woman hospitalized with COVID-19 said she showed up at the window of her sister's nursing home in North Ridgeville Tuesday and found her unresponsive.

"It's very scary," Cathy Becker said. "It's one of the hardest things I've ever been through."

Becker said her sister, Susan, is a resident of O'Neill Healthcare. The nursing home's administrator said Thursday that 65 residents tested positive for COVID-19.

According to state health department numbers, that's the most COVID-19 cases of any nursing home in Northeast Ohio. Below is an interactive database of nursing home COVID-19 cases across the state of Ohio, including O'Neill Healthcare.

Becker said her sister started showing symptoms of the virus two weeks ago. She said Susan's health started going downhill shortly after her she tested positive Friday.

"It's terrible, she was so sick," Becker said. "She couldn't lift her arm up to pick-up the phone."

She knew she was sick but nothing prepared Becker for what she saw when she looked in her sister's window Tuesday.

"I've been so stressed out and the worst thing was going to the window and finding her unresponsive," she said.

Becker said after she found her, Susan was rushed to the hospital.

"She was totally confused," Becker said. "She knew her name and that was about it."

In a statement, O'Neill's administrator said all residents in the 150 bed facility are being tested for the virus in an effort to better understand how to care for residents and staff. Richard O'Neill said about half of the 65 resident who tested positive are not showing any symptoms of the virus.

State figures show another 20 workers at the nursing home have also tested positive.

"Her whole hallway when she was first tested positive, she was telling me they've got signs on every door [that read] 'watch for droplets,'" Becker said. "So we think—there was one room that didn't have a sign—we think almost everybody in there has it."

Becker said she talked to her sister Thursday and that she appeared to be doing better in the hospital but Becker said because of fears her sister could catch COVID-19 again, she's not sure if she'll return to O'Neill after she's released.

Becker also had a message for those who don't believe the virus is a threat.

"Do not think this is a joke," she said. "Those people are very, very sick. Personally, I'm very angry at people who aren't taking it seriously because they're killing people by spreading it."

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