Limit of 10 at funeral for nursing home patient dead of COVID-19

Coronavirus

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two more residents at Metron of Cedar Springs nursing home died this week after contracting COVID-19.

Anna L. Russell of Cedar Springs, 81, died Sunday. She was a resident at Metron of Cedar Springs, which is now called Mission Point.

An undated courtesy photo of Anna Russell.

On Wednesday, her family gathered to say goodbye at Idlewild Cemetery in Kent City. Some of the guests, limited to 10 family members, wore masks.

“To be limited to 10 people 6 feet apart around a grave site is devastating,” said Sally Armstrong, Russell’s sister-in-law. “We have a big family. We are used to a big celebration and we certainly would have celebrated this life because she was a godly woman.”

Russell worked for General Motors, attended church regularly and enjoyed sewing. She had a long life, but her family said no one should have it end this way.

“It’s a horrible way to die. She was all alone,” Armstrong said.

She said Russell spent her last days quarantined away from the rest of the residents at the nursing home. Her family didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.

Thirty-one residents and five staff members at Metron have tested positive for COVID-19. The first resident who died from it was 66-year-old LouAnn Dagen on Saturday.

Maxine Pifer, 96, died Monday at the home. Kent County records listed her cause of death as COVID-19, dementia and bradycardia. Family members declined to speak about her death.

Nine people in Kent County have died of the virus. Across Michigan, the death toll is 959, the latest figures from the state show. Statewide, more than 20,000 have been infected and are in isolation.

Russell’s family said there will be more services like hers if people don’t take the virus seriously, specifically noting young people. 

“I want them (young people) to know that they could be at fault for someone else getting it and dying like Anna did,” Armstrong said.

“Please stay home, stay safe,” she continued. “You don’t want to do this.”

Russell’s family praised Metron for the care she received in her final days.

COVID-19 presents with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. For most who contract it, symptoms are mild. Though anyone can get it and anyone can develop a serious case, the people most at risk to develop severe complications are older people and those with preexisting health problems. If you think you have coronavirus, call your health care provider. Unless you are in need of emergency help, do not go to the emergency room. Get advice from a doctor over the phone or a televisit and they will direct you on how to get tested.

  

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