‘She was full of life’: Grandmother in Ocoee nursing home with ‘significant outbreak’ dies from COVID-19

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A picture through a window shows some of the last happy moments Farices Holmes spent with her family, while they were on the other side of the glass.

“She was 92 years old, but she was full of life,” said her granddaughter, Cherlette McCullough.

Last week, Holmes’ life was cut short due to COVID-19.

“Coronavirus

“She was saying it was hard for her to swallow,” McCullough said, adding that her grandmother’s voice was raspy, and she was complaining of pain all over her body.

Holmes lived at Ocoee Health Care Center, a nursing how that the Department of Health and state agents are now investigating what they call a “significant outbreak” of COVID-19.

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At least 66 residents have tested positive, and 22 of them are hospitalized. And 30 employees have tested positive.

“We don’t know why it spread so fast,” Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino said.

Holmes is the only resident we know of so far who died.

“On the 11th, I went to the window, knocked on the window. I did not get a response from her,” McCullough said. “She was in the bed like lifeless.”

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From the parking lot, McCullough called the nurse into her grandmother’s room.

“I see them shaking her finger, which made me feel something (was) not right,” McCullough said. “So I’m yelling her name, ‘Mama get up! Mama wake up!’”

Staff called 911, and Holmes’ granddaughter watched as paramedics loaded the family matriarch into the back of an ambulance.

“I yelled and said ‘What is going on?’” McCullough said. “And (the paramedic) said ‘Ma’am, she is very hot, and she has all the signs of COVID.”

Hospital staff told the family that not only did Holmes have COVID, but she was septic, and had suffered a heart attack from the virus.

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“We got there on the 11th, they told us that she was in hospice. On the 15th and the 18th at 11:15 a.m., she was gone,” McCullough said. “And it’s so hurtful right now.”

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.