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The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Mark Reutter8:38 amApr 20, 20200

Resident who tested positive for coronavirus at FutureCare Lochearn dies

The Baltimore care facility, site of Maryland’s largest nursing home outbreak, has not publicly disclosed any fatalities due to the virus

Above: Esther Walker tested positive for the virus at the northwest Baltimore nursing home. (Valerie Evans)

Esther M. Walker, one of the 129 residents at FutureCare Lochearn who tested positive for the coronavirus, has died.

“They told me they checked her vitals around 10:30 on Saturday, and they were good. But when they came back to her room around an hour later, they said she just wasn’t breathing and she didn’t have a pulse,”  her daughter, Valerie Evans, said.

Last week The Brew wrote about Evans’ attempts to help her 72-year-old mother after it was revealed that Lochearn had the biggest outbreak of coronavirus in the state.

Neither FutureCare nor the Maryland Department of Health has publicly disclosed any deaths at the 200-bed facility on Seton Drive in northwest Baltimore.

On Saturday when her mother died, there was no floor doctor on duty, Evans said.

On Saturday when her mother died, there was no floor doctor on duty, leaving it to the home’s administrator, Franco Pastore, to offer Evans bare-bones information about her mother’s passing.

“I asked him what happened and he said, ‘We really don’t know.’ My mom was Covid-positive. But other than her wanting oxygen at one point – which they said was ‘just for comfort’ – they told me she never had any strong Covid symptoms It’s all very odd.”

Workers don protective clothing next to four white vans parked outside FutureCare's Seton Avenue location in Baltimore, as officials confirm a COVID-19 outbreak there. (Louis Krauss)

Workers don protective clothing next to four white vans parked outside of FutureCare’s Lochearn nursing home last Wednesday. (Louis Krauss)

“Safest place to be”

Evans’ remembers her mother as the glue that held together a sprawling family of 14 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

“Family meant everything to her. She loved making everybody laugh. She was the life of the party,” she said.

Born in Howard County, Walker lived in Glen Burnie and worked for many years as a teacher’s assistant at Meade Heights and other Anne Arundel County elementary schools.

Her husband, John Walker, died in 2012. She entered the Lochearn nursing home two years ago because they had an in-house dialysis center.

“She figured it was the safest place to be,” Evans said.

“Family meant everything to her”  – Valerie Evans.

Looking back over the last month, Evans said she has gotten increasingly angry that more wasn’t done to protect the elderly at nursing homes.

She points out that while family visitation rights were suspended weeks ago out of fear of contagion, staff and outside vendors continued to come and go freely at Lochearn until about 10 days ago.

“I don’t understand why these people weren’t being testing for the virus. And why they weren’t better protected with PPE,” she said.

“I’m really disappointed by the state of Maryland. They needed to do much more to protect the lives of these vulnerable people.”

A daughter struggles to reach her Covid-positive mother at FutureCare Lochearn (4/17/20)

Baltimore City confirms coronavirus outbreak at a FutureCare nursing home (4/15/20)

– To reach this reporter: reuttermark@yahoo.com

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