Bay Area nursing home death toll nears 150, including some employees

The COVID-19 death toll connected to long-term care facilities in Florida continues to grow. Data released from the Florida Department of Health Thursday shows 39% of those who died from COVID-19 in Florida were residents at one of the state's 622 nursing homes or assisted living fatalities.

The governor issued a lockdown for those facilities in mid-March, making them off-limits for visitors. It’s assumed the virus has been introduced to facilities by asymptomatic employees.

In the Tampa Bay region, 143 residents and staff at long-term care facilities have died and hundreds of others have tested positive.

In Pinellas County, the biggest outbreak has been on the Freedom Square of Seminole campus. 

PREVIOUS: Four more COVID-19 deaths reported at Seminole long-term care facility

The death toll stands at 24; the majority are patients from Seminole Pavilion, plus one nurse who worked at the property for 15 years.

“She wasn’t getting enough air to her lungs,” said Marjorie Blackman’s daughter, Tara. “Her blood pressure dropped, it was now attacking all of the organs.”

Hillsborough County facilities have also emerged as virus hotspots. 

MORE: More than 25% of Manatee County COVID-19 cases in residents of long-term care faclitilies

The Bristol at Tampa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center reports 73 novel coronavirus cases.

In Plant City, there are 84 positive residents and staffers at Community Care Center.

State records show there has been a significant uptick in Manatee County. 

Over the last six days, confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Manatee Springs Nursing and Rehab Center spiked from 20 to 69; more than half of those are patients and residents. 

Braden River Rehab Center and Riviera Palms Rehab Center make up 23 of the counties 41 nursing home deaths.

PREVIOUS: Two nursing homes account for 23 deaths from COVID-19 in Manatee County

“Our long term care facilities have really been hit hard,” said Jacob Saur, Manatee County Public Safety Director.

State data shows there are 140 positive cases in Polk County long-term care facilities and 19 deaths. Most of those have happened at Highlands Lake Center.

In Sarasota, the virus has claimed 27 lives and infected 100 workers and residents at elder care facilities.

Some of these COVID-19 death totals come from a list released by the Florida Department of Health. That list is only revised once a week and has not been updated since May 1.

Continued coverage:

- Death of Seminole Pavilion nurse brings Freedom Square death toll to 17

- Bay Area long-term care see COVID-19 spread quickly after first diagnosis

- Daughter says Lakeland nursing home did not want to test for COVID-19

35 Lakeland assisted living residents hospitalized; 29 positive for COVID-19, so far

- Family did not know nursing home was overrun with COVID-19 cases until it was too late

- Nursing home resident had COVID-19, family learns after his death

Pinellas County nursing facility reports dozens of COVID-19 cases

Family of nursing home resident who died of COVID-19 left with unanswered questions

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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