Protest at Vallejo nursing home with deadly coronavirus outbreak

There was a small but vocal protest Wednesday outside a Vallejo nursing home, where at least 11 people have died from the coronavirus.

"I want this facility shut down! I want it dismantled!" said Annette Bennett, whose nephew William Bennett III died at the Windsor Vallejo care center last week. 

"There's other patients in there that are fighting for their lives, mainly because of an incompetence of this facility!" she said as motorists honked in support.

The protest came on the same day the American Health Care Association and National Center of Assisted Living said it would cost $36 million to test all nursing home residents and workers in California. The figure does not include any testing at assisted living facilities or other long-term care centers.

Earlier this month, the group has asked the federal government for $10 billion to combat COVID-19. But some question where that aid would go without proper oversight.

"A lot of that money ends up in the pockets of their multi-millionaire operators, rather than spent on staff and the supplies and resources that they're actually asking for," said Mike Hark of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Alisa Mallari Tu, director of the Gordon Manor assisted living facility in Redwood City, where at least 12 residents have died from the coronavirus, said there are some drawbacks to testing.

"Someone could present with a negative test, but the next day they could be infected, or the next day after that they could be infected," Tu said. "The testing also generates a whole bunch of potentially false negatives."

Back in Vallejo, relatives of residents said something needs to be done to improve the situation.

"There's so much neglect in that facility, I feel sorry for the patients," said Maria Grimaldo, whose grandmother tested positive. "The nursing staff - they're overworked. And it's just atrocious in there."

She said there's only one solution.

"You need to shut down and start over."

KTVU reached out to the facility Wednesday and was transferred to a voice mailbox that was full.