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103-year-old woman dies at Tamarac facility that just added COVID-19 wing

TAMARAC, Fla. – Eleanor Diebel died Wednesday, at 103 years old, the oldest resident at the Tamarac Rehabilitation and Health Center where at least seven people are now isolated in a COVID-19 wing.

“I thought she would outlive us all,” said Felicia Fox, Diebel’s friend.

Residents of the facility were tested for the virus over the weekend.

“I got a call this morning that she passed away after they called this past Saturday that they were testing her for COVID,” Fox said. “When I asked this morning, they couldn’t tell me whether she had it or not. They said they didn’t have the results back yet. So, I don’t know if that what she passed away from — and I’m hoping to get answers.

Answers have been slow for families who learned — frankly, from Local 10 reporting — that the nursing home with their healthy elders contracted with the state to turn its east wing into an isolation facility to care for COVID-positive patients who can’t yet return to elder care homes.

Local 10 News learned that Danielle Cohen’s 98-year-old grandfather just tested positive.

A different resident was tested and died within days last week. Her funeral was today.

All this as state records still show just six positive residents — as well as 10 staff — and two deaths from COVID-19 at the facility.

“I was concerned that even if they have a door, that some of the staff could come over,” said Carmen Leon, whose mother is a resident, expressing concern about infected patients being brought to a building with elder residents.

The CEO at Tamarac Rehabilitation and Health Center repeats that there is no intermingling of staff, airspace or equipment between the coronavirus isolation wing and healthy residents.

There was a letter that went out to residents about the isolation center, though just days before it opened Monday.

“Notify the families, tell them what the plan is and give them the option,” said Susan Grimes, another friend of Eleanor Diebel.


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