National Guard Responding to Mass. Nursing Home Where 5 Residents Died

Littleton officials say extensive testing will be done among the residents at the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley

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The Massachusetts National Guard will be responding Friday to a nursing home in Littleton, where five residents died and more than a dozen others became sick in a coronavirus outbreak.

Concerns have been raised about a lack of communication regarding the situation at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley.

Town officials say extensive testing will be done among the facility's residents. Firefighters tell NBC10 Boston there could be at least 100 residents at the facility that need to be tested for the virus.

A nursing home in Littleton has experienced five deaths after a coronavirus outbreak, and the company that owns it also runs the Seattle-area facility blamed for the outbreak in Washington.

In a statement, the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley said it was the one who arranged for the National Guard to come into its facility to test residents.

"We want to consistently go above and beyond in the care we are providing our residents,” said Zo Long, Northeast Division Vice President for Life Care Centers of America, “so we continue to be proactive in following CDC guidelines in providing care that is consistent with federal and state guidance. The National Guard has all safety measures in place to ensure a safe testing process.”

The facility went on to say in the statement that it is continuing to follow CDC guidelines in conjunction with both state and federal health agencies.

"Our primary concern is for the health and safety of our residents, nursing staff, and other care providers. Since testing has become more readily available, we are confident we will be better able to direct treatment, safeguard all residents and help our nursing staff to continue to monitor the health status of our patients," the statement read. "Our nursing staff and other healthcare workers are the true heroes who are on the frontlines in the battle of this unprecedented viral outbreak."

First responders, local families and several elected officials have been complaining, though, that the facility in Littleton has been hard to reach.

"Local legislators were informed just yesterday, and yet this has been happening in terms of the COVID-19 cases at least since Friday," Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton said. "It's very disappointing. The state needs to have more power to intervene with these private facilities."

The town says they've reached out to the families of all those who have been impacted by the outbreak. They hope the new actions being taken will save lives moving forward. 

Life Care's handling of COVID-19 has been criticized before. Their facility in Washington, once considered the epicenter of the virus outbreak in the Seattle area, has prompted a federal investigation.

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