The son of a woman who died with COVID-19 has accused her care home of failing to reveal the number of residents who have died with the virus.

Godwin Schembri's mother, Connie, a resident of Residenza San Gużepp in Fgura, succumbed to the virus last week and his father still lives there. 

In total 127 people - almost half of the residents - have tested positive for COVID-19. At least three residents have died, health authorities said last week, but neither the health ministry nor the home's management has said if the number has increased.

“You speak about the recovery rates, but you have not spoken about the new cases and deaths that occurred due to the COVID-19 spread in your home,” Schembri said in a public Facebook post addressed to the home. 

Some 82 people have recovered and five people have been transferred to hospital, manager Emanuel Saliba said, leaving the number of active cases to 33.

Saliba said only three of its employees were currently in quarantine, down from 50, and that staffing levels have also benefited from the fact that some of the home’s 278 residents have been temporarily relocated to another facility.

This week, the first few COVID-free residents moved to Saint James Capua Hospital in Sliema, where they have been allocated a wing and will remain in quarantine for two weeks.

But relatives of residents have continued to express feelings of helplessness and complaints about being left in the dark on the state of their vulnerable family members.

Schembri said he was finding it impossible to get information about his father, who he says needs special attention.  

“Instead of taking care of our loved ones, whom we trusted in your care, your main action has been to keep them behind doors, without the possibility to even walk in the corridor” he said. “I have no alternative but to write this post as I have been trying for many days to receive news about my dad."

He blamed his mother's death on the failure of the care home to contain the virus, four weeks after the first case. 

Nobody is being held accountable, he maintained. He said his father was "completely and helplessly" in the hands of the home, and said he was unable to communicate with him via Skype.

In reply, the manager denied the allegations in the post implying any negligence and shortcomings from its end.

Although it was in a position to address these specific claims, it chose to continue to abide by its obligations and respect the privacy of all persons involved, addressing the matter with the individuals concerned

Saliba said it “strictly adhered to all protocols and guidelines issued by the competent authorities.

“We have implemented all possible measures to control the spread of the virus to safeguard the residents’ well-being and to keep their relatives informed.”

He said that while the spread of the virus in the home put a strain on its resources, it was “working tirelessly to maintain the highest level of care the residents deserved and that has always been”. 

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