Family speaks out after death at Hayward nursing home

The family of a man who died at a Hayward nursing home with an outbreak of the coronavirus spoke out Monday, saying they believe he contracted the virus from a staff member.

"My wonderful husband and patriarch of our family passed away at Gateway having caught the virus," said Dianne Akrie, the widow of 88-year-old Costell Akrie.

Eight other residents of Gateway Care & Rehabiliation Center in Hayward also died after testing positive for COVID-19.

"My husband's death was tragic and preventable. He is not with us today because of mistakes and negligence," Dianne Akrie said.

She said her husband was taken to the facility after a diabetes-medication error at Kaiser. She says he lived in a room by himself and must have contracted the virus from a staff member.

"At no time while visiting Gateway did we ever see staff wearing masks before and after the outbreak," she said.

Costell Akrie spent his last days alone because of a lockdown at Gateway.

"I never got to say goodbye to my husband of 65 years, or to tell him I loved him," she said.

The family's attorneys say if staff was pressured to work at Gateway if they had symptoms or didn't have proper safety gear, that's criminal conduct.

"If true, these owners should be prosecuted for allowing that type of conduct. Our view here is, notwithstanding Mr. Akrie's age, he should not be dead as a consequence of the coronavirus," said civil rights attorney John Burris. 

Another family attorney, Adante Pointer said the facility is still accepting new residents.

"Gateway continues to admit and allow people to stay there, despite this facility being overrun with the virus," Pointer said. "They essentially handed people who we know to be the most vulnerable a death sentence."

The attorneys have filed a complaint with state health officials. Gateway already has a history of violations.

"We just feel like we need answers to all of these questions so we know what really happened there and to make sure this doesn't happen in the future to anyone again," said Akrie's son Scott Akrie.

Asked to comment, Gateway on Monday referred KTVU to a statement last week in which officials said their focus is on caring for patients and ensuring the safety of staff.