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Families say staff of Richmond care facility with COVID-19 outbreak has not been honest about cases

RICHMOND, Texas – Relatives of residents at a rehabilitation and care facility in Richmond, Texas said Thursday that the facility has not been honest about when the first confirmed case of coronavirus entered the facility. 

Cambridge Health and Rehabilitation Center, located at 1106 Golfview Drive, confirmed Wednesday 18 residents had tested positive for coronavirus. 

RELATED: 17 positive COVID-19 cases confirmed at rehabilitation center in Richmond

“I can confirm that we have had 18 residents test positive for COVID-19 this week — this comes after nearly 5 months of being free from COVID-19 in the Facility,” wrote Shelia Eapen, CEO of Cambridge Health and Rehab Center, in a statement to KPRC 2. 

Sanitization efforts were underway Thursday. 

Two representatives from Texas’ Rapid Assessment Quick Reaction Force visited the facility Thursday. Additional testing is expected. 

“...we are expecting to participate in another round of universal testing to include all residents and staff either Friday of this week or Monday of next week,” Eapen continued. 

Outbreaks of the coronavirus have been common at care facilities throughout Texas. While management at Cambridge Health and Rehabilitation Center said they were successful at keeping the virus at bay, relatives of residents who contracted the virus suspect management is not being transparent about when COVID-19 entered the facility. 

“My mother right now is in the hospital. She’s very ill at this time she’s not eating. She’s just hanging on by the grace of God. We’re hoping for the best but she is severely ill,” said Laferia Faniel, whose mother, Darthula Amy, 96, tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

“I was not made aware at all that she had coronavirus until she was taken to the emergency room on this past Saturday and the diagnosis came from the hospital,” Faniel said. 

Faniel said she wasn’t sure if staff at the facility had contacted her mother’s roommate. After she received word of her mother’s diagnosis, she said she called the roommate’s family. 

“They didn’t have the ethical morals to tell us that she was even exposed to COVID,” said Fred Crawford who is the son-in-law of 102-year-old Lydia Smith, Darthula Amy’s roommate. 

Crawford said the facility called him and his wife to tell them that Smith was sick. 

He said there was no mention of the coronavirus. 

“Last Monday... we were approached by the nursing director and she said, ‘if you’re going to get your mother out of here to say goodbye because she does not have much time left. Get her out of here now,‘” Crawford said. 

He and his wife drove their centenarian mother home the next day. 

“My mother-in-law passed. She was buried last Thursday and we were unable to go to the funeral. We felt we were obligated to stay home,” Crawford said. 

They felt obligated because of the phone call the said they’d received from Leferia Faniel. Not from management at Cambridge Health and Rehabilitation Center. 

“We made a decision to protect others — not to go to the burial which is really tragic for my wife,” Crawford said. 

The couple opted to not conduct a COVID-19 test upon Smith’s passing. He said congestive heart failure was her primary cause of death. Respiratory failure was secondary. 

KPRC 2 contacted Eapen for a response Thursday to both families’ allegations. As of late Thursday, there has been no response to the query.

Both families say they were wronged. 

“I asked them at what point were you going to tell me that my mother had tested positive for COVID? I said you guys have lied. You have... the whole way you’ve handled this stuff has been unethical,” Faniel said, referring to a phone conversation she said she had with the facility’s marketing director. 

Faniel returned to the facility Thursday, in pursuit of answers. 

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, she couldn’t get in. 

Neither could Crawford and his wife. 

“The fact that management hid that — hid it and lied to us is just unethical and immoral,” Crawford said.