Gabrielle Cordwell says she does not want “another family to have to go through this” after her “one-of-a-kind” grandfather Alf Jordan died from COVID-19 in Melbourne this week.
The 90-year-old great-grandfather, who died in hospital on Friday, was a resident of Glendale Aged Care at Werribee, in Melbourne’s south-west.
As of Sunday, 10 other cases of coronavirus have been detected at the aged-care facility – nine staff members and an 85-year-old female resident.
Ms Cordwell said her grandfather became unwell about Friday, July 3, then grew progressively worse over the next few days.
He was transported to hospital last Monday, tested positive for COVID-19 shortly afterwards, and died on Friday, July 10.
“We were blessed to have him for as long as we did, but he died alone, and no one should have to die alone,” she said.
“There was no one there to comfort him if he was frightened.”
Glendale Aged Care director of operations Glenn Hancock said the female resident who tested positive for coronavirus was asymptomatic and was being cared for at the home.
“Given the resident is not displaying any respiratory symptoms, and is otherwise well, we have been instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services to care for her in quarantine at the home,” he said.
A total of 207 staff and 277 residents were tested and 472 people returned negative results. The results of two residents are still pending.
Mr Hancock said contact tracing was under way for all cases and staffing levels at the home were stable.
“As soon as we initiated our outbreak procedures, all residents were taken safely back to their rooms, and are being well looked after by our care staff, who are wearing full PPE,” he said.
“The home was closed to visitors and thoroughly disinfected, and we began to test everyone in the home.”
Ms Cordwell said her grandfather loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“They have such fond memories of him – he had cookies and drinks. He made sure they had everything,” she said.
“He was super close with all the children and he’ll be greatly missed.
“Alf was one of a kind and I think anyone that knew Alf would know he was loud. He could clear a room with his voice,” she said.
“He loved to fix things and do things and usually everything he touched ended up a bit different to the way it should have been.”
Ms Cordwell also said holding a funeral under current restrictions would be difficult for Mr Jordan’s large family.
“Twelve kids, plus partners, plus grandkids, plus great-grandkids, plus great-great-grandchildren – it’s not possible, sadly,” she said.
“It’s sad that it’s going to be like this for him and that’s why it’s so hard for everybody, you really can’t mourn.”
She urged Melburnians to adhere to social-distancing restrictions and try and stop coronavirus from spreading further.
“We can all work through this together and try and beat this thing, that’s all we want,” she said.
“We just don’t want another family to have to go through this either.”
Mr Jordan was the 108th person to die of coronavirus in Australia.