National Guard called to help Pinellas County long-term care campus test for COVID-19

The National Guard arrived in Pinellas County Friday to do on-the-spot testing for COVID-19 after dozens of residents and staff at three long-term care facilities contracted the disease.

Nine residents have died and nearly 100 were evacuated last Friday from Seminole Pavilion at Freedom Square -- one of three facilities on the Freedom Square campus with confirmed cases of COVID-19

Three buildings on the campus have been impacted but the outbreak.

PREVIOUS: Pinellas County nursing facility reports dozens of COVID-19 cases

Freedom Square’s executive director told FOX 13 News there are 10 confirmed cases at Freedom Square Rehabilitation and 1 positive case at The Inn at Freedom Square Assisted Living & Memory.

Additionally, 35 staff members have contracted the virus.

Last week, a teary Barbara Namias said her 88-year-old mother, who lived at Freedom Square Rehabilitation, was growing worried.

Worry quickly turned to panic as reports of infections inside the facilities became public.

“We wanted to take her out, but the catch that we were in is that the place we’re staying would not let her come here unless she was tested and tested negative,” Namias told FOX 13 News.

She and her husband say they had to jump through hoops to make it happen, but with a negative test Wednesday, they were finally able to get their loved one out.

“I don’t think that administration of the facility has been transparent,” Namias said.

Freedom Square is not the only long-term care residence in Pinellas County grappling with a virus that spreads like wildfire among vulnerable populations.

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

In Palm Harbor, the Skilled Nursing Center at St. Mark Village is also dealing with an outbreak.

The CEO of the facility tells FOX 13 News there are 23 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 and as of Friday they have all been transported to local hospitals.

The Florida Department of Health sent a strike team out Tuesday to do testing on all symptomatic residents and staff who were on-site.

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

So far, eight employees are positive for the virus.

St. Mark village is only reporting one death from COVID-19 -- a 95-year-old man who was taken to the hospital Thursday.

The CEO said the man was negative when he was tested last week.

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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