Great grandmother to 10 dies alone from COVID-19 in her nursing home room

Berkeley Brean
Created: April 14, 2020 06:25 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Fifty-six people have died in our community from COVID-19. 

One hundred and thirty-three people infected with the virus died in a nursing home in New York State just on Monday. 

Statistics are important to know in this crisis. They help us evaluate whether things are getting better. 

But the family of Elizabeth Anne Merritt wants you to know that there is always a soul and a family behind those numbers. 

Merritt was born in Rochester in 1934. She grew up near West Avenue and graduated from Madison High School. She married in 1950 and moved to Scottsville. She had five children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 

She died Monday inside her room at The Hurlbut nursing home in Brighton. 

Brean: "When your mom passed was she alone?"

George Merritt: "Absolutely, to the best of my knowledge."

Tuesday I spoke with her son George Merritt. He recently moved to Texas. He says his mother always loved having friends and family around and she was an animal lover caring for any stray she found. 

George Merritt: "The thought of her being alone when her time came is very frustrating."

Governor Andrew Cuomo says deaths inside nursing homes are an increasing problem. Monday, Mrs. Merritt was one of 133 residents who died in the state.

She moved into The Hurlbut last October. 

Her son says she tested positive last week. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "That population is so is so vulnerable it just takes one staff member, who didn't have a temperature but did have the virus, to walk in and now you're going to have a serious problem."

Tuesday I reached Bob Hurlbut, the owner of the nursing home where Mrs. Merritt lived. 

Brean: "How many positive cases would you have in your nursing homes?"

Bob Hurlbut, Hurlbut Nursing Home: "I can't, I don't really discuss that."

Brean: "Do you have enough equipment for your staff?"

Bob Hurlbut: "Yeah, but I'm getting them from other places. China, if you believe that."

Brean: "Do you have enough people working to care for your residents appropriately?"

Bob Hurlbut: "Yeah, I could always use some more. Some of them are stretched a little bit but yeah. I've got one nursing home that's got some issues but I'm dealing with that."

Brean: "Which one is that?"

Hurlbut: "I'm not going to get into it."

George Merritt called his mother compassionate and giving. He does not want her to be a statistic. 

George Merritt: "It's sort of like reflecting back on 9-11. There was a name and a family and a face and a person with every one of those numbers. I want people to understand there was somebody attached to every one of those numbers."

Elizabeth Anne Merritt will be laid to rest in Scottsville with her late husband. She is one of 56 people to die in our community because of the coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Comment on Facebook