SEMINOLE, Fla. - New data has revealed just how bad the coronavirus crisis has become at long-term care facilities.
Pinellas County has the most cases in our area so far: 60. There are nearly 30 cases at just one nursing home alone.
Floridapolitics.com has been reporting, at Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion there are nearly 30 cases between the staff and residents.
Pinellas County confirmed some of those patients were transferred to three area hospitals at the request of the nursing home. We reached out to the facility Thursday morning and were told they were putting out a statement, but we have yet to hear back.
The assistant county administrator tells the Tampa Bay Times that remaining residents at freedom square — around 7800 of them — will be tested.
Facilities like the one in Seminole have been on lockdown since mid-March, barring visitors and forcing staff and residents to wear masks and sit through temperature reads to enter and exit facilities. It's all in an effort to lessen the potential for coronavirus outbreaks.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Florida Health Care Association is asking Governor Ron DeSantis to grant new immunity provisions that would protect long-term care facilities from negligence lawsuits related to the coronavirus.
The Florida Democratic Party held a call Thursday morning, where State Senator Gary Farmer said such a request for immunity is unprecedented and unconstitutional.
“In Florida, we have a limited amount form of sovereign immunity, but it applies only to government entities or agencies, or those doing work for the government. it has never protected the purely private enterprise,” Farmer said. “They should not need liability protection if they are doing their job and providing the services for which they have been contracted.
The Florida Health Care Association says the circumstances inside nursing homes right now are extremely challenging and require unique protections.
The Florida Department of Health released new numbers this week highlighting confirmed COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities around the state, and if they show state officials had a right to be concerned.
According to the newest data, the top five counties with the highest number of confirmed cases in nursing homes are Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Suwannee County, and Leon County.
Dade : 253 Cases / 26 Deaths
Broward : 127 Cases / 19 Deaths
Palm Beach : 114 Cases / 24 Deaths
Suwannee : 71 Cases / 3 Deaths
Leon : 62 Cases / 0 Deaths
Focusing on the Tampa Bay region, the counties with the highest number of confirmed cases in nursing homes are Pinellas County, Manatee County, Polk County, Sarasota County, and Hillsborough County.
Pinellas : 60 Cases / 1 Death
Manatee : 45 Cases / 8 Deaths
Polk : 25 Cases / 3 Deaths
Sarasota : 24 Cases / 2 Deaths
Hillsborough: 14 Cases / 0 Deaths
Governor Ron Desantis announced plans to mobilize the National Guard this week, to help expand testing at nursing homes statewide.
Thursday, state democrats planned to hold a media conference call at the Capitol to pressure the governor into release the names and locations of the facilities currently dealing with outbreaks.
So far, the state has only released the numbers, which can be found on the Florida Department of Health's website. Click "see report" on the website, and the data on long-term care facilities can be found on the fourth page.
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@example.com. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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