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Metairie Manor residents say food, medicine running low under strict quarantine

"If we're supposed to be independent, why can't we go outside and get some fresh air? Why can't I go do my laundry, check my mail, take my trash out?"

METAIRIE, La. — Frustration is building at the Metairie Manor independent living facility in Metairie, where residents say they're running out of food and medicine under strict quarantine rules.

The rules require anyone who has left the property, for any reason, to self-isolate in their small apartments for 14 days.

"I can't, in my mind, comprehend how they can take my rights away from me," said Denise, who asked WWL-TV to only use her first name out of fear of retaliation. "Not allow me to go walk my dog, wash my clothes, and take my trash out. I'm dumbfounded."

Denise said she left a few days ago to refill her prescription at a pharmacy and now is not even allowed outside to walk her dog.

As she spoke to WWL-TV by phone Wednesday afternoon, a friend from the building was doing laundry for her, as she's not allowed to go to the laundry room.

Another isolated resident, who wished to remain anonymous, feels lucky her family lives nearby to drop off groceries. She left for a cancer treatment, was not permitted to leave her apartment for a week, and after leaving for a second appointment, started her two-week isolation over again

"If we're supposed to be independent, why can't we go outside and get some fresh air? Why can't I go do my laundry, check my mail, take my trash out?" the woman asked. "I don't want to go out and socialize. I miss the socializing, I truly miss it. But I am a cancer patient. And I know I have to protect myself more than the regular person with no problems."

Metairie Manor is run by Christopher Homes, a ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. In a statement, the Archdiocese said Metairie Manor had an early confirmed case of COVID-19 and these measures are meant to protect residents.

The statement read:

"No resident is deprived of food or medicine. We have vendors coming in with prepared food and our staff has offered to and often does grocery shop and pick up medications for residents. We also have local vendors offering grocery delivery to the site. We accept deliveries of food from family and encourage residents to have their medications delivered by the pharmacy whenever possible, particularly during this time. Our staff delivers meals to residents throughout the week.

We will certainly look into this situation to ensure our staff and residents fully understand the policies that are in place and the necessity for those policies."

Attorney Jackie Maloney has heard otherwise. She sent a formal complaint to attorneys for the archdiocese after delivering bags of groceries to residents in need.

"Every single resident who I've spoke with who is crying about the need for food and medication is being dishonest? I can't imagine that that's true," she said. "These people, who I've spoke with, are doing without toilet paper. They're unable to do their laundry. They can't wash clothes. They're using dirty towels. They're running out of medication on day 12 and 13 and they're unable to leave the facility to get medication."

A family friend of Maloney lives in the building and Maloney says she'd just like the residents to be fed.

"I'm not looking to cause trouble for any of the residents, I'm just looking to provide them with meals," Maloney said.

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