SEMINOLE, Fla. - Few details are known to the public about the extent of the novel coronavirus' spread in Florida's nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Florida's Department of Health says 7% of the state's COVID-19 cases are residents of long-term care facilities and released a list of 300 facilities where at least one resident has tested positive at some point since March 2.
Healthcare workers and families of residents say they want to know more so steps can be taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.
In the Bay Area, Seminole Pavilion nursing home in Pinellas County announced Tuesday a fourth resident died from COVID-19.
Last week, the facility was cleared of patients as case numbers began to rise and three had already died. Monday, the facility said 41 patients and 21 staff had tested positive for the disease.
“We need a list that’s more user-friendly, that really could be more valuable,” explained Kristin Knapp, with the Florida Healthcare Association, which represents hundreds of long-term care facilities.
Knapp says members of the association want to know what criteria are being used for the list and how many current cases are at each location. She also said the initial list released by the state listed facilities that should not have been, but those have since been removed.
Luke Newmann with Palm Garden of Winter Haven says his facility shouldn’t be on the list either, but it still is.
Two residents in his nursing home ended up with false-positive tests and have since tested negative, twice.
FOX 13 reached out to the facilities in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Polk counties. Five say they were added by mistake; two others were removed the next day.
“If we’re going to put out information, let’s make sure it’s accurate,” said Veronica Catoe with the Florida Assisted Living Association.
Catoe, like Knapp, says there needs to be more accurate, timely information -- otherwise, it just causes more confusion and concern for families with loved ones in these facilities.
“Let’s make a phone call, double-check. If there’s a question, let's vet it before putting them on the list. Because once it’s in black and white, you can’t take it back,” she said.
FOX 13 News has reached out multiple times to the Florida Department of Health for comment on their uploaded list. We have yet to hear back.