DANVERS – A resident of a Danvers nursing home has died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a family member.

Amanda Cray said her 84-year-old grandfather died at Beverly Hospital on Friday after contracting the virus at the Hunt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Cray did not want to disclose her grandfather's name at this time, but said she wanted the public to be informed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

Hunt Nursing announced on its website on Friday that eight residents had tested positive for COVID-19, but did not say that anyone had died.

"I think it's important for accurate information to be out in the public because I think some people aren't appreciating the severity of the situation," Cray said. Cray said her family did not fault the nursing home for her grandfather's death.

Lisa Gaudet, vice president of communications for Berkshire Healthcare, which owns Hunt Nursing, said she could only confirm what has taken place inside the facility and that no one had died in the nursing home.

Gaudet said another resident at Hunt was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total to nine. Hunt has 108 residents. All residents who have tested positive or shown symptoms of the virus have been moved to one unit, Gaudet said.

Lisa Arpin, whose father, Eduardo Santos, lives at Hunt, said she was upset at the lack of communication with families. Arpin said her mother was not notified when Santos was moved to the unit for COVID-19 cases or suspected cases.

Santos, 79, has been tested for the virus but the results were not in yet, Arpin said. She said she understands the reason for the ban on visitors, but said it's been difficult for her mother not to be at her husband's side at this time.

"They'll be married 50 years in August and she's always been there," Arpin said. "My dad has been at death's door at least three times and he's come back. He's the strongest person. To not be there is really hard."

Gaudet, the Berkshire Healthcare official, said it's been a difficult time for residents, their families and the staff. She said there has also been one death and 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the company's facility in Williamstown in western Massachusetts.

"Many of these residents have lived with us for years," Gaudet said. "The caregivers are working really hard. It's very emotional for them. These are people they have great affection for and have shared their life stories with them.

"People don't always think about nursing homes in the most favorable light, but at the same time this has been difficult," she added. "We're doing all the things we have been instructed to do that were designed to keep this virus out, yet it still appeared on our doorstep."

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2535 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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