TURLOCK (CBS13) — Jack Wilmeth met his wife-to-be almost 20 years ago. Never would he have imagined he wouldn’t be able to be with her in her final moments. Instead, his last words to her were over the phone.
“[A] hospice nurse called to update me on what was going on asked if I’d like to say a few words to her over the phone and I did,” said Jack.READ MORE: Sheriff: Modesto Mother, 32, Led Deputies On Short Chase With 2-Year-Old Daughter In Van
His wife, 78-year-old Janet Wilmeth, was at the Turlock Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in April. A day after she was released, Wilmeth took a phone call that others at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19.
“They said, ‘Well, we’ve had three of our staff members and three of our patients test positive.’ Ok, so you’re going to test now because she was there and I know she had to be exposed and they said ‘It’s not our problem,’ said Jack.
The facility has been hit hard by the virus, reporting it’s 16th death in a press release Friday. The center says 100 staff members and 50 residents have tested positive.
Janet Wilmeth isn’t in those numbers. She didn’t test positive until after she’d left the facility and died 19 days after she’d been released. Jack had asked for his wife to be tested so she’d be cared for as soon as possible.READ MORE: Stockton Shooting Victim Speaks After Returning Home From Hospital
“To me there’s a long distance between legal and right, and I think that they should’ve said ‘we’re going to get someone on it right away and see.’ Maybe a week would have made a difference maybe, maybe not,” said Jack.
CBS13 contacted several officials with Covenant Care, the company that owns the Turlock Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. No one would comment over the phone, instead, sending CBS13 this statement: “HIPAA-based privacy laws prevent us from discussing health-related questions specific to individual patients. However, we have followed and continue to follow all guidance related to testing for COVID-19 as directed by the local and state health departments. We join family members in mourning the loss of loved ones taken by this insidious virus.”
“I would like to have a formal apology. I would also like them to be more communicative with the media. Let everybody know what’s going on,” said Jack.MORE NEWS: Cold War-Era Relic Responsible For Loud Siren In East Sacramento Monday Night
Wilmeth wants his wife’s story told hoping it will prompt more testing and follow up care when others leave the facility.