More residents at Fairfield assisted living center die of coronavirus

A Fairfield care facility continues to struggle with a COVID19 outbreak, experiencing two more deaths in recent weeks.

Parkrose Gardens has lost a total of four residents to confirmed coronavirus, with at least that many deaths still under investigation as potentially linked to the deadly virus.

Another death on Monday adds to the growing list of fatalities under review.

KTVU contacted Parkrose Gardens management for comment but did not receive a response.

Residents' relatives are understandably worried.

"I would take my mom out every Sunday and we would go do stuff like go to the park or go to lunch," said Vanessa Burros, whose 69-year-old mother Carmen, lives at Parkrose, and has not been able to leave the lockdown environment or have a visitor for more than six months.

Monday, while dropping off her mom's rent check, Burros asked staff if they could wave at each other through a window.

"They told me no, because they said it's not fair to all the other people who want to do the same thing," said Burros. "So why is that such a big deal, the only thing we have left is communication, so shouldn't that be a priority?"

Parkrose Gardens is a memory care assisted living facility, specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.

Carmen was hit with early-onset dementia while still in her 50s.

"She doesn't understand anything, she keeps asking when I'm going to come and get her, and why I haven't been there and it's heartbreaking," said Burros.

Pre-pandemic, Parkrose Gardens had an uneven record of health and safety violations, some of them serious, such as allowing residents to wander away.

Now, it has 39 COVID-infected residents and 12 infected staff members.

The Solano County Public Health Department calls the situation "evolving and dynamic", especially challenging because many residents are unlikely to comprehend or cooperate with new rules or precautions.

"My mom said coronavirus, what's that?," recalled Christian Canalita, "but she was in very good physical health and could walk for miles."

Canalita was blindsided by his mother Susan's death last month.

He says he had been reassured by Parkrose staff that residents were being physically separated to ensure safety.

Susan Canalita, 76, was supposed to be segregated on the second floor with other residents testing "negative."

So the family was stunned when they dropped off some medication for Canalita.

"My mom actually walked into the office on the ground floor, and she wasn't supposed to be there," said Canalita.

"When my wife saw her in the office, that was like a red flag, my mom wasn't supposed to be there, but ended up there."

Two days later, Susan was abruptly taken to intensive care, exhibiting a fever and cough.

She deteriorated and died within a week, a loss the family blames on Parkrose, and possibly lax practices.

"We do, we absolutely do hold them responsible, because my mom wasn't supposed to be on the first floor," said Canalita.

A GoFundMe seeks to offset burial and medical costs for the family.

Canalita's husband, Phil, suffered an unrelated health crisis and was also hospitalized at the time of his wife's passing.

The last few weeks have left the family traumatized.

"We got to suit-up and go in, one by one to say goodbye to my mom, but at that point, she was pretty-much comatose," said Canalita sadly.

The Canalita's quick-shifting experience is exactly what Vanessa Burros worries about. 

"Family members don't want to be in the dark and I want to know exactly what's happening, who's taking care of her, is she eating three times a day?"

Both families noted the fees for Parkrose residential care are substantial, so they are frustrated with the lack of transparency and communication.

"I'm supposed to be on a list so that I talk to my mom once a week, but somehow my name gets skipped, they don't have time, or they have too many other people on the list," complained Burros.  

In three weeks' time, Burros has only managed to get through to her mom twice on FaceTime.

She knows only that Carmen previously tested positive, but has not been told if she is symptom-free and out of quarantine, returned to her own room. 

Staff has asked her to be patient. 

"No I'm not going to be patient, because this is my mom and you're telling me she's sick, and I'm going to do whatever I can do to talk to her so I’m going to ask you to figure that out," Burros said. "The unknown is what scares me and the fact she's stuck in there, like jail."

Debora Villalon is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Debora at and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU