Provided photo: Carter Conrad, 3, of Albion holds a card he made for his grandmother who is hospitalized with Covid-19.
ALBION – It’s not only residents at The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Facility who have been sickened by Covid-19.
At least one staff member is currently in the hospital on a ventilator after contracting the virus. Diane Conrad works as an LPN at the nursing home in Albion.
Conrad, 57, retired after working at a state nursing home in Batavia. She missed the working at a nursing home and was hired for the night shift at The Villages on a per diem basis.
“She has a love of the residents,” said her son, Dan Conrad.
His mother started to feel sick about a week ago. She took a couple days off, but her condition worsened quickly, with a low oxygen level and difficulty breathing. She went to Strong West in Brockport on Wednesday night and was tested for Covid-19. That test showed she was positive for the virus.
She was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester that night and put on a ventilator Thursday morning.
She is completely sedated right now but has shown improvement. Dan Conrad said doctors expect she will recover. Her oxygen levels and temperature have returned to normal and the ventilator has been turned down as her she recovers. She still has a ways to go before she is discharged.
“She is doing wonderful right now but they said it will be a long road,” Conrad said this morning.
He is on quarantine from his family due to his contact with his mother. Conrad said having his mother be hospitalized and the impact on self isolating from loved ones is difficult.
“It is completely draining and stressful,” he said.
Conrad has been very vocal the past week speaking out against The Villages, where 53 residents have tested positive for Covid-19 and 14 have died. He faults the facility for not doing enough testing of staff and residents.
When his mother reported for work, they took her temperature and asked her questions whether she had any symptoms. But she was never tested for the virus by The Villages.
It wasn’t until Tuesday night at Strong West when she was finally tested.
Conrad said other staff also have tested positive for Covid-19. The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments said the virus spread in the facility likely from staff members who didn’t have symptoms but were positive for the virus.
Conrad said he hopes the increased media attention on the outbreak at The Villages will lead to changes, with more staffing and precautions from the coronavirus for residents and the employees. Several Rochester news stations have been reporting on the outbreak at the nursing home in Albion.
“I’m trying to bring an awareness to what is happening there,” Conrad said today. “We need to stop the spread and the deaths. I hope the state and Cuomo himself will come down and do something.”
The local Health Department doesn’t have a breakdown on how many staff at The Villages have tested positive. If there are staff who live in the county with a confirmed case of Covid-19, it would be part of the community number. Right now the county has 100 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 53 at The Villages and 47 that are considered “community spread.” If a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 and lives outside of Orleans, that wouldn’t count in Orleans. It would be added to the county where they reside.
Dan Conrad is a member of the Albion Lions Club. As a member of the Lions, he coordinated the delivery of pizzas, coffee mugs with an image of the nursing home, and flowers last Thursday. He wanted to show the staff that they are appreciated.
“The nurses there are wonderful,” he said. “The people there in rehab are wonderful. No one deserves to be going through what they are.”
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