WOODLAND/TURLOCK (CBS13) — The area’s seniors have been hit the hardest amid the coronavirus pandemic. Nursing homes and care facilities facing large outbreaks, as coronavirus spreads to patients and staff members.

For family members, there’s nothing easy about being on the outside looking in. Signs outside a Woodland care facility reiterate no visiting allowed, so families are left to hope for the best. Some families feel a sense of guilt that there’s nothing they can do.

“He was just a very easygoing guy,” Teri Reyes said about her dad, 91-year-old Albon Dutra. He was undergoing at the Turlock Nursing and Rehab Center. He was admitted mid to late March, just as the pandemic really began.

Reyes said her family was told Albon died of heart issues, but that he also tested positive for COVID-19.

“Who’s to say that virus didn’t bring on other things that could contribute to anything?” Reyes asked. “It was such a shock. They called and said he died. He wasn’t even sick.”

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Dutra was one of more than 90 positive cases in that facility alone among residents and staff. At the Stollwood Convalescent Hospital in Woodland, there’s a similar outbreak. The hospital is a branch of the St. John’s Retirement Village. Numbers there sit above 60, with at least 11 dead.

It’s proving to be a crisis for our most vulnerable. All of this happening inside places where families say they feel they have no control.

“We feel so guilty now,” Reyes said. “We wish we never would have put him in there and just done something different.”

That guilt is natural, according to Carole Herman, with the Foundation Aiding the Elderly.

“They should not feel guilty,” Herman said. “These facilities should be taking care of our loved ones and our most vulnerable patients.”

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Both homes in Turlock and Woodland have said they’re separating positive patients from others and providing staff with proper protection.

Herman also said if a family can provide, maybe they should consider it.

“Bring them home. I always think being at home is better than being at a nursing facility,” Herman said. “But that’s a personal choice.”

But Herman said oftentimes, families have no choice but to put their family members in a home for several reasons. Reyes said she had expected her dad to come home sometime last week, but he couldn’t leave because he was in quarantine.

She said her father’s personality will be missed.

Heather Janssen

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