Five residents are dead and more are sick after a coronavirus outbreak at a nursing home in Littleton, Massachusetts.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, says some families in his district contacted him with concerns, saying Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley has been hard to reach.
"I'm very concerned about this," said Eldridge. "Heartbroken for the families."
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In a letter sent to the state's Department of Public Health, the regional health director wrote that there has been "a lack of cooperation," adding that "the staff at the facility was not forthcoming with information."
"Local legislators were informed just yesterday, and yet this has been happening in terms of the COVID-19 cases at least since Friday," Eldridge said.
But this isn't Life Care's first brush with criticism. Their facility in Kirkland, Washington, was dubbed the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the Seattle area, prompting a federal investigation.
Now, in Massachusetts, state leaders want new focus here.
Of the 17 infected with the virus, nine are residents and eight are staff. The worry is there could be more.
"The state needs to have more power to intervene with these private facilities, because if the private facility's going to stonewall, you know, we are in a state of emergency and the government really needs to step in," Eldridge said.
The Department of Public Health is now working with Life Care. The company said in a statement to NBC10 Boston that its staff is well trained and following all guidelines to deal with this outbreak.
According to Eldridge, the National Guard will be coming to the facility to test remaining staff and residents.
Other nursing homes in Massachusetts have struggled with coronavirus. Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered an independent investigation at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, where the number of fatalities rose to 18 Thursday. On the same day, Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus Jr. announced that three residents had died and 13 others had tested positive at the Jewish HealthCare Center.