Woman left with questions as father in Visalia nursing home dies during COVID-19 pandemic

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Devra Guajardo believes her 75-year-old father Terry Pope was one of the first to contract and die from COVID-19 at the Redwood Springs Health Center in Visalia.

On March 24, Guajardo got several calls about her father needing medical attention for symptoms of pneumonia. Each call was worse than the previous one.

"I got a phone call from Kaweah Delta stating that he was in respiratory distress and they brought him in with a 104.9 fever," Guajardo said.

Doctors ran multiple tests, finding he had acute kidney failure and some kind of infection.

According to Guajardo, doctors didn't know what caused it and put Pope in the ICU.

"They told me they were treating him for COVID-19, but that he had been tested, but it would take 24-48 hours before the results would come back," Guajardo said.

Her father died the next morning.

"I told them on the 25th that he was being tested for that, and they evidently didn't do anything until the 29th or later when other people started showing symptoms," Guajardo said.

Officials at Redwood Springs say Pope's results came back negative on March 26. They say they were notified by the Tulare County Health Department and claim the family was too.

Guajardo says she was only given results verbally from Redwood Springs.

"All it said was not detected, but as you read underneath it said does not mean negative," Guajardo said.

As of Monday, 112 people from Redwood Springs have tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Over 40% of Tulare County's COVID-19 cases from Visalia nursing home

Seventy-one of them are residents, eight of whom are currently in critical care.

Two of Guajardo's nieces work at the nursing home and one of them now has the virus.

"Now that I hear of the other patients that are there that passed away or that are fighting it, it really makes me wonder if he really did have it," Guajardo said.

Tulare County has stepped in to help Redwood Springs.

In a statement, the county public health officer says a nurse liaison is working directly with the facility, providing protective gear, lab collection kits and is sharing information on infection control on a weekly basis.

As for Guajardo, she's left with more questions than answers.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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