By Beth Germano

LITTLETON (CBS) – Officials in the town of Littleton are expressing concern that an assisted living facility has become a “hot spot” for coronavirus. They have notified the state that Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley is not complying with COVID-19 protocols after a staff member and a patient both tested positive, and at least one is confirmed to have died.

Sources say the number of deaths is as many as five, though it is not yet confirmed the residents were all victims of COVID-19.

Vicky Fetters tells WBZ-TV her mother has been a resident there for the past year, and tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. She says she received the information only after repeated calls to the facility which she says initially denied it had any cases. “My focus right now is my mother,” said Fetters whose mother suffers from COPD and heart failure. “They assured me no one here had it. I finally got through to the head nurse who admitted no one here has it because they were sent out yesterday.”

Over a five-day period beginning March 27, town officials say 16 sickened residents were transported to the hospital with no notification to the local department of health. The owners of Life Care Center also run the facility at the center of a coronavirus outbreak in Washington State.

Sources say as many as five residents have died, though not yet confirmed from COVID-19. Town officials say they were only notified by concerned employees and when a health agent showed up at the door they were “stonewalled”.

Fire Chief Scott Wodzinski told an emergency meeting of the Board of Selectman, “There is no segregation in that facility. At this point we are considering everybody hot in that facility.”

It’s enough that Congresswoman Lori Trahan has called for the National Guard to move in, which this week delivered much needed protective equipment to the Littleton Fire Department which is dealing with the unprecedented number of calls for hospital transport from the Life Care Center.

“Certainly the National Guard can deploy a mobile testing site to immediately get a sense of the health of 87 patients still there,” said Trahan whose office confirms the National Guard will arrive on Friday.

For family members like Vicky Fetters the outbreak has been alarming especially since she is not allowed at her mother’s bedside. “It’s extremely frustrating,” she said. “I’m constantly crying.”

Beth Germano

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