Metro woman loses grandma in virus outbreak at KCK rehab center; grandpa tests positive, too

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The number of COVID-19 cases in assisted living facilities in Kansas continues to rise.

Four people have died of the coronavirus at Riverbend Post Acute Rehabilitation Center on Freeman Avenue. So far, 33 residents and four staff members have tested positive.

Mary Brandon, who lives in KCK, said both of her grandparents contracted the virus at the center, and only her grandfather is still alive.

“Monday we were supposed to pick her up, and they told us she had pneumonia. Come to find out she didn’t have pneumonia, she had the coronavirus,” Brandon said.

RELATED: Officials say more patients at KCK rehab center where 4 died may test positive for coronavirus

The rehabilitation center was only supposed to be temporary for Brandon’s grandmother, 74-year-old Mary Cooper.

After suffering from a stroke and heart attack, Cooper was set to return home. Instead, she would end up fighting to recover from COVID-19.

“She didn’t get to see none of us through all of this,” Brandon said. “About 10:27 Sunday night, they called us and said, ‘Sorry, she passed away.’”

Brandon said her grandmother’s diagnosis came with no warning signs and caused a rapid decline in her overall health.

RELATED: As COVID-19 hits some Kansas nursing homes, one official says more needs to be done

“Her heart went into shock. Her kidneys were shutting down. They tried giving her medication, get her on dialysis, that sort of thing, but her blood pressure was so low, they couldn’t even do it,” Brandon said.

Cooper died April 5 at an area hospital, according to the family.

But instead of grieving her beloved grandmother, Brandon said the family also dealing with another family member’s health crisis.

“Grandfather is still in the facility, just found out today he also has the coronavirus,” Brandon said. “It’s just really bad because here he’s paralyzed from his right side and he can’t really talk really good.”

Riverbend Post Acute Rehabilitation Center did not respond to any of FOX4’s requests for comment, but they did post a statement online.

The statement says, in part: “The COVID positive patients who remain in the building at this time are receiving care from the Riverbend clinical team. They also say they are seeing improvements in several of these patients, and escalating intervention and cleaning methods.”

The Brandon family said they want to know how both relatives contracted the virus, especially when visitation was halted near the beginning of March.

For now, they are hoping for the best with their grandfather. He remains at the facility while he recovers.

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