Died: April 2020 Detroit, MI
James House, a nurse at a Detroit nursing home, died earlier this week after falling ill.
Although he had not been tested for COVID-19, his sister Catrisha House-Phelphs told the Free Press Friday that her brother worked at Omni Continuing Care on Conner in Detroit, and had classic symptoms of the disease — cough, low-grade fever, shortness of breath.
She said her brother, a 40-year-old Warren resident, started feeling sick two weeks ago.
He went to a drive-up site that was taking samples for coronavirus tests, but was turned away.
James House, a nurse at a Detroit nursing home, died earlier this week after falling ill. (Photo: Photo courtesy of the family)
House-Phelphs said her brother was told to stay home for seven days and wait it out.
On Tuesday, House went back to work but quickly fell ill, needed oxygen and was rushed to the hospital, House-Phelphs said.
She said her brother texted her and said he was going to be intubated.
“Things moved so fast,” she said. “It was like within a couple of hours of him being admitted, he had passed away.”
Omni Continuing Care issued the following statement Friday night:
“It is with great sadness to report the recent passing of one of our employees at Omni Continuing Care. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time. This individual was a beloved, long-time employee, who will be greatly missed. We have brought in grief counselors to assist our staff and residents. …
“The employee was last at work on March 31. He reported for work that day after being off since March 20 for an unknown illness. Upon arrival to our facility, he was still unwell, prompting immediate transfer to the hospital prior to starting his shift.
“As always, the health and safety of our residents and staff is our top priority. We continue to work with the local health department, and have implemented procedures consistent with CDC and CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) guidelines and direction and are continuing to monitor residents and staff for any signs and symptoms of COVID-19.”
House-Phelphs described her brother, a father of five who grew up in Benton Harbor, as a committed nurse, a great brother and her best friend.
“He was great,” she said. “I mean, it’s a huge loss.”