Family of COVID-19 victim fear facility failed to protect her

Posted at 10:41 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 07:38:42-04

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — Kelly MacKenzie says there were no goodbyes and no funeral for her mother, Mary Ellen Agnoletto, who died April 7th. Mackenzie tells 7 Action News her mother left Troy Beaumont Hospital after recovering from a stomach virus and entered Regency at Shelby Township Rehabilitation Center for two weeks.

"And while she was there she was complaining that she was short of breath, and she had never been on oxygen before this," she recalled.

"And that she was just not feeling well," Mackenzie said.

She says Regency released her mother March 25th and says she went back to her assisted living facility feeling ill. So Agnoletto went to the hospital.

"They tested her for COVID, and they said she had COVID," MacKenzie said.

She says she and her sister were surprised by the diagnosis and called Regency.

MacKenzie recalled, "We said, "Why didn't you call us and tell us that your facility had COVID in it?"

"They, the director of nursing Jennifer, said to my sister, 'Well, we had COVID positive but that was way before your mother got here on March 9th,'" she said.

However, the state didn't announce the first two cases of COVID-19 until March 10th. So the timeline doesn't line up.

"I questioned them on that. Then all of a sudden they were changing times," MacKenzie said.

"My mother's biggest fear was dying, and she died by herself," she said.

Mackenzie says she believes her mother contracted COVID at Regency and that she'd still be here if the family had been warned of possible exposures at the facility.

"You have to take this serious because people are dying," she said.

Regency sent 7 Action News the following statement:

We were recently informed that a former resident of Regency at Shelby tested positive for COVID-19 following discharge from our facility, and later passed away. Our deepest condolences go out to the family of the resident at this most difficult time. Our staff’s number one priority is the health and safety of the residents of Regency at Shelby.

The resident was admitted in early March to the facility for approximately two weeks following a brief admission to a local hospital. After she completed her therapy, and met her rehabilitation goals, she was discharged back to her prior living arrangement, an assisted living facility.

We want to reassure the public, and our families, that we are following directives from the CDC, CMS and other government agencies on how to react to this virus. We have worked closely with the Macomb County Health Department to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our residents and our staff.

Our staff is monitoring changing conditions, including the presence of elevated temperatures and respiratory illness in our facility, daily on each shift. Staff are being screened prior and after each shift and we are requiring staff to stay home if they are sick or display symptoms of the virus. Any impacted residents receive supportive treatment in an isolated section of the facility or have been transported to the hospital. Affected staff have been treated off-site and do not return to work until cleared to do so all consistent with CDC guidelines. Facility leadership is also participating in regular calls with our governmental and healthcare partners to receive and implement the latest updates and current information related to this issue.

We thank our residents, staff and families for their support. Regency at Shelby is committed to provide quality care and support to our residents and their families.