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'I have to be able to speak for her' | A daughter's message after mother catches coronavirus in nursing home

Lisa Grant's mother is in a South Carolina nursing home. An employee tested positive for the virus. Then, another resident. Then, her mother.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After months of dodging the dreaded diagnosis, Lisa Grant got the call from the staff at her mom's nursing home.

"When she said, 'She's positive,' I said, 'How? How did it happen? No one's able to go into the nursing home,'" Grant said.

So now, after suffering a stroke, becoming partially paralyzed and non-verbal, Grant's mother Ida, 68, faces a new battle.

"An employee tested positive on June 18, and then, a resident tested positive on July 9, and then, we got the phone call last week," Grant said.

When WCNC Charlotte last spoke with Grant, it was early May. There were no COVID-19 cases at her mom's home, and the state had just announced a universal testing effort in nursing homes.

RELATED: Facing growing nursing home cases, South Carolina will test all residents and staff

Grant felt like her mom's positive test was a wake-up call that changed her perspective since then.

"I was just so positive and uplifting," Grant said. "I mean, we thought it was going to go away."

But, in fact, cases in South Carolina continue to grow, including those in congregate care facilities.

Since one month ago, congregate cases are up 56%. 

To date, the South Carolina Dept. of Health and Environmental Control reports 262 congregate-care facilities have had at least one case of COVID-19 — 3,955 people in these facilities have tested positive for the virus and 495 people inside these facilities have died. 

Additionally, DHEC data shows 3,545 healthcare workers have been infected. Health care worker cases are up 82 percent since one month ago.

See the most current list of South Carolina nursing home outbreaks here.

In a state where one in five people are consistently testing positive, Grant wants others to know safe behaviors matter because the virus is still getting to the most vulnerable.

"When you think about, she has no voice, and I have to be able to speak for her," Grant said. "As someone who is going through this, if we could just continue to social distance, wear a mask, be careful because it's other people that's affected."

So far, Ida's only symptom is a dry cough, but Grant is concerned since her mother has multiple risk factors.

However, the worst part for Grant is not being allowed to visit the home to see her mom in person.

"We can't physically see her, and I haven't held her hand since Christmas," said Grant. "It's been rough."

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