Elderly couple forced to talk through window because of coronavirus quarantine

Heartbreaking photos have appeared of an elderly couple who have been married for more than 60 years communicating through a window while one of them is quarantined over coronavirus fears.

Gene Campbell, 89, is being held at the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington, where nine people have died from coronavirus.

His wife, Dorothy, has been spotted trying to talk to him through a window at the care facility.

The couple have been married for 60 years
Image:The couple have been married for 60 years
Nine people have died at the care facility
Image:Nine people have died at the care facility

She was joined by their son, Charlie Campbell, who held a phone to the glass so they could communicate with each other.

The nursing home is under federal investigation to determine whether it followed guidelines for preventing infections.

It was fined $67,000 (£52,000) last April for dealing poorly with two flu outbreaks.

Beecher Hunter, president of Life Care Centers of America, said in a statement: “Our clinical team is making personal, one-on-one telephone calls with family members to share information about loved ones and respond to questions.

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“Our associates are the true heroes in this fight, overcoming their own fears and concerns about the disease to faithfully show up and work sacrificially for our residents.

“We grieve with the families who have lost loved ones; people who were important members of our professional family.

“Life is sacred and precious, and when it is lost, a little bit of those in their circle of friends dies with them. We extend our sympathies and our prayers for peace and comfort in such time of sorrow.”

    Sky’s Thomas Moore explains how countries around the world are preparing to contain COVID-19

    How to contain a global pandemic

    The latest coronavirus developments:

    • Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government is not considering stopping flights into the UK
    • More than 140 Britons are stranded on a cruise ship off California’s coast
    • One of the first Britons to catch the virus tells Sky News how he went from “a bit sniffly” to being unable to breathe
    • Religious groups issue guidance on hand-shaking, sharing hymn books and taking communion wine
    • The Vatican confirms its first case of coronavirus in Vatican City
    • Germany reports 134 new coronavirus cases in less than 24 hours
    • Cameroon and Serbia confirm their first cases of the disease
    • Indian carmaker Tata Motors issues a profit warning at its British luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover due to sales in China taking a hit over coronavirus
    • South Korea reports 309 new cases, taking the country’s total to nearly 6,600
    • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declares a state of emergency
    • Shops in Australia are rationing toilet roll, while armed robbers carried out a heist of a delivery in Hong Kong

    There are more than 98,000 confirmed and suspected cases globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak. It says there have been more than 3,380 deaths.

    Families of the care home residents have also voiced anger, saying they received conflicting information about the condition of their loved ones.

    One woman was reportedly told her mother had died, before later receiving a phone call from a staff member who said her mother was fine – when she had, in fact, died.

    “This is the level of incompetence we’re dealing with,” said Kevin Connolly, whose father-in-law is a facility resident.

    Kevin Connolly speaks at a news conference
    Image:Kevin Connolly speaks at a news conference
    A person is loaded into an ambulance at the Life Care Center
    Image:A person is loaded into an ambulance at the Life Care Center

    In a news conference in front of the Kirkland centre, he said: “We want to know when our loved ones will be tested.

    “We don’t want general information about how and when the group as a whole will be tested, we want specific information as is pertains to our loved ones.”

    Mike Weatherill, whose mother died at the centre, said: “Things just moved real slow and I think everybody just moved too slow to recognise this virus.”

    Mike Weatherill's mother died at the centre
    Image:Mike Weatherill’s mother died at the centre

    The state of Washington has reported 70 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

    Across the US, the number of deaths reached 12, with all but one victim in Washington state.

    Virus Outbreak: Global Emergency – Watch a special Sky News programme on coronavirus at 6pm weekdays

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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