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Families of seniors at Lambeth House worried they're losing precious time

There are now 19 positive tests for coronavirus here in Louisiana. Four of those are seniors who live in Lambeth House

NEW ORLEANS — We've been hearing from doctors that if you are older or if you have underlying health problems, the coronavirus is more likely to cause complications and even death.

And that's what happened in the Seattle area, where so many of the elderly contracted the coronavirus and died in a nursing home.

Here at home, some of the COVID-19 cases are affecting those who live at the Uptown senior residence, Lambeth House.
As of today, the Louisiana Department of Health is requiring all licensed health care facilities to restrict visitors. Only those who are essential, vital or necessary to care, will be allowed for the next 30 days. This is to limit the spread of coronavirus.

There are now 19 positive tests for coronavirus here in Louisiana. Four of those are seniors who live in Lambeth House.

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 Actress Lin Gathright's mother, Barbara, is living with advanced dementia. She is in relatively good health but is cared for in the memory care division of Lambeth House.

"And I have been concerned about the coronavirus in general, but then you know like yesterday it just felt like it showed up at my front door all of a sudden," said Lin Gathright.

That's because a close relative recently worked with someone who now has COVID-19 and four other people at Lambeth tested positive as well.

"My concern would be that I would get sick and then I would pass it on to my mom or any elderly person who then, you know, would be in real danger," she said.

She visits her mom at least every other day or daily, but now because of Lambeth safety precautions, she's not allowed to visit.

"They just called me from there. They're going to FaceTime with me with my mom this afternoon, so I appreciate that," said Gathright.

Lin is worried because of her mom's mental decline.

"If I have to go like two weeks without seeing her, I'm really worried about how far she will slip away."

Lin feels like her mom is more isolated living in memory care, but others want to know if they should bring their parents home for a while. We asked infectious disease physician Dr. Brobson Lutz if that would help lower the risk of contracting coronavirus.

"That's part of the social isolation aspect and it might. It might because if you look at what happened in Washington state, the nursing home out there was actually ground zero breeder territory for transmission of the virus," said D. Lutz who is the health spokesman for the Orleans Parish Medical Society.

And Dr. Lutz says if those who can leave for a time, do leave, that would free up the nursing home staff and caregivers to help those who are bed-bound and need the most care and can not leave.

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