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QCA woman loses mom to COVID-19 after outbreak at long-term care facility

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 12:52 AM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - The daughter of a Quad Cities woman who passed away from COVID-19 on Monday is hoping to help others.

According to family, Diane Sawvell was living at St. Anthony’s Continuing Care in Rock Island. They said she didn’t receive enough help in time.

“Seeing my mother die of COVID-19 was the most horrendous thing I’ve ever seen,” Sawvell’s daughter, Carly Counihan said.

Sawvell was 69 years old and had health problems, including COPD. She had been living at St. Anthony’s Continuing Care for the last year and half, according to Counihan.

Last Friday, she was transported to the emergency room of a Rock Island hospital. According to Counihan, staff at St. Anthony’s told her they thought her mother had a stroke, but it was later found out to be COVID-19.

“Without testing she looked like she was in the end stages of COVID-19,” Counihan said, “I couldn’t understand how you’re telling me at 6AM you took her vitals and she was fine at the nursing home. And then in the E.R. they call me at 10 and they’re telling me a completely different story.”

She said she believes more could have been done at the care facility.

“It’s left a lot of questions about, not just her, but about the other people that are living in there,” Counihan said.

Sawvell fought COVID-19 at the hospital through the weekend, but eventually lost her battle to the virus on Monday. Counihan said she doesn’t want any other family to have to experience a similar thing.

“I’m just a woman, a daughter that loves her mother. And i’m a mother who has children that loves their grandmother. And we’re all broken. I wish there was more transparency and I feel like that isn’t being given to families,” she said, “I think most places are doing the best they can. COVID is something that none of us were prepared for. We’ve never seen anything like this. But at some point, there has to be some responsibility taken.”

The Illinois Dept. of Public Health lists St. Anthony’s outbreak status as open, which means there is a current outbreak of COVID-19 at the facility with positive cases in the last 28 days. IDPH listed 80 reported cases and 12 deaths on their website.

TV6 reached out to St. Anthony’s for comment, but a message has not been returned.

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