GREELEY, Colo. — Nearly a third of COVID-19 deaths in Weld County stem from a care center in Greeley.
So far, 60 people have died of COVID-19 in Weld County; of those, 17 deaths are from residents at the Centennial Healthcare Center. Among those who lost their battle to the new virus was Steven Morger, 67. His daughter, Ashley Morger, describes him as laid-back, funny and intelligent. She says he loved music and his family, a perfect duo.
“Anybody that knew him knew that he loved playing the trumpet, he was a musician,” Morger said. “Until he got sick that was literally his life, was his family.”
For the he last two years, Morger called Centennial Healthcare Center home. It was there where his health began to deteriorate and he was taken to the hospital and placed in the intensive care unit. Morger died on March 28, just days after he tested positive for COVID-19.
“I was able to hold his hand and say good-bye and talk to him and he was sedated, but he did respond,” Morger said. “He squeezed my hand a little bit, and he looked at me, and that was really hard.”
She says the care center never informed her of any other deaths at the facility when she called to tell the staff her father died.
“When I called, they acted like it was the first case,” she said.
Lauren DiGeronimo, a spokesperson with the Centennial Healthcare Center, confirmed 21 deaths at the facility during a 20-day span; 17 are connected to COVID-19. She said four residents who died were not tested for the virus.
“The coroner is the one that told me that his roommate is the one that he contracted it from and I guess that’s what’s frustrating,” Morger said.
So far, 21 staff members have tested positive for the virus as well as 33 residents. Eleven of those residents have recovered.
“It kind of shows me that maybe not enough was done when it came to the PPE," Morger said.
DiGeronimo said the facility is providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), assessing staff health and working closely with the health department to protect residents. She said they are also working with health authorities to be 100% transparent and in contact with family members of the residents. However, several family members of residents at the facility Denver7 has spoken with say they were left in the dark.
Morger saID she’s not blaming anyone, but hopes to spark a change in the care center by sharing her story.
“I am never going to see my dad again,” she said.