A Massachusetts nurse who sounded alarms about how administrators handled the coronavirus outbreak at the old folks’ home where she worked has died after becoming infected herself, according to a new report.
Maria Krier, who worked at the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley, passed away Friday, just days after speaking out to local station WCVB-TV.
“We kept waiting for the ball to drop,” Krier previously told the outlet over the phone. “Like, when are you going to tell us we’re exposed to it?”
A facility representative told the outlet Krier became ill two weeks ago and worked with the facility for a short time.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our associates during these challenging times the country is experiencing,” regional vice president Kate O’Connor said in a statement to the network. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends.”
Of the 204 employees who work at the center, 75 were out sick Sunday, the outlet reported. Fourteen have tested positive for COVID-19 and another 17 are staying home on doctors’ orders, according to the company.
Life Care Center of Nashoba ValleyREUTERS
As of Friday, 10 residents died of the virus, and 67 have tested positive — some of whom have been taken to local hospitals for treatment.
“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 told the station.
The center is now requiring that all staff members be tested for the bug, according to the report.
All residents were tested last week in a collaboration with the Massachusetts National Guard, according to O’Connor.
US Rep. Lori Trahan, who represents the 3rd District of Massachusetts, called Krier “a hero in our community.”
“Maria showed tremendous courage when she blew the whistle on the outbreak at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley,” she tweeted Saturday. “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.”
Meanwhile, a 21-year-old woman working her first nursing assistant job at a California nursing home died of COVID-19 complications that same day, KTLA reported.
Valeria Viveros, who worked at the Extended Care Hospital of Riverside, became one of dozens diagnosed with the virus at the facility earlier this month, according to the report. She died one week later.
“We’re in shock. It’s unbelievable. We can’t even imagine that she’s gone,” her uncle Gustavo Urrea told the outlet. “She was admitted to the hospital. She never came home. She was put in isolation, and they were treating her with a ventilator.”
A GoFundMe page launched to support the family had already raised more than $17,000 by Monday morning.
“My 21 year old niece Valeria did not have the heart to stay home!” her aunt Rafaela Pinto Urrea wrote. “We remember her spirit of dedication and perseverance in her goals, her joy and sincerity, and care for others. As the youngest child, she was far too young to leave us, but God has opened heaven to her! Her mother, father, sister, and brother are in shock, mourning and in quarantine.”