Mass. National Guard dispatched to Littleton senior living facility after 5 residents die of COVID-19

LITTLETON, MASS. (WHDH) - The Massachusetts National Guard is being dispatched to a Littleton senior living facility Friday after five residents died from coronavirus complications, according to town officials.

On Wednesday, Littleton Fire Department and Board of Health Director James Garreffi accused the Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley of failing to cooperate with the health agents who responded to the facility after a resident and an employee were diagnosed with COVID-19, according to a joint release issued by half a dozen town officials.

RELATED: Littleton town officials accuse senior living facility of not complying with COVID-19 protocol

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, including those here in Littleton, and our best wishes are with those who have been sickened by this terrible disease,” the statement read.

Emergency crews have been called to the assisted living facility more than a dozen times over the past week and have transported 17 patients who were reportedly in serious condition to area hospitals.

Littleton Fire Chief Scott Wodzinski said crews had problems with staff members at the senior living facility communicating with them.

“We have had difficulties,” he said. “We have responded to the facility for numerous responses for sick individuals and the communications have been a little difficult.”

In a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality, Garreffi claimed that he was “stonewalled” by officials at the Life Care Centers when he tried to identify close contacts of the person who tested positive.

On Thursday, town officials confirmed that the National Guard would be on the scene starting Friday to conduct extensive testing on the staff and remaining residents.

“It is our sincere hope that the actions taken today will save lives and further ensure that those vulnerable members of our communities under long-term care, will be protected as much as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.

Life Care issued a statement saying they are working to follow all the relevant public health guidelines and that they instituted a no visitor policy back in March.

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