Family grieving mother believes more can be done inside nursing homes

Coronavirus

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — As of Friday night, 87 Tennesseans living in nursing homes or long term care facilities have died from COVID-19.

Julia Simpson lost her mother one week ago. Virginia Todd caught COVID-19 in a nursing home and died less than a week later after being rushed to the emergency room.

“By the time we got there she was gone,” said Simpson.

Simpson couldn’t say goodbye in person. She hadn’t seen Todd since Boulevard Terrace, in Murfreesboro, shut its doors to outsiders March 17. Between the pain and desperation she’s experiencing, Simpson feels her mother was taken from her.

“Of course grief, my mom’s gone, I’m also going through devastation as to what happened.”

On April 29, Governor Bill Lee announced a new effort to test every resident and employee of state nursing homes and long term care facilities. Two days earlier, Boulevard Terrace issued a statement saying, ”It’s the only nursing home in Rutherford County to proactively test all of its residents for coronavirus upon learning of the first positive case.

For her mother, Simpson said it wasn’t enough.

“Nobody has gone into a nursing home until after an outbreak, it’s too late then,” she said, “They should have been inside those doors making sure the nursing homes were following CDC guidelines. They should have had cleaning services inside, deep cleaning that place, every day.”

According to state numbers released Friday, Boulevard Terrace has had eight coronavirus deaths. For Simpson, one of those numbers is her mother, Virginia Todd.

“We had not seen her since March 17, and the last time we actually got to touch her was when she was dying. That is terrible, it is so terrible.” Todd also suffered from COPD. 

The family says, because of COVID-19, they are postponing the memorial service.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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