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

Nearly two dozen residents have died due to COVID-19 at two long-term care facilities owned by the same management company in Manatee County: Braden River Rehab Center and Riviera Palms Rehabilitation Center.

The two facilities have a combined 328 beds. They are currently housing a total of 46 residents who have tested positive for the disease and another 19 have been hospitalized. There are 54 employees of the two facilities who have tested positive.

Eleven residents of Braden River and another 12 at Riviera Palms have died. 

Earlier in the week, the Manatee County Department of Health said one or more traveling employees of a nursing home may have spread COVID-19 to patients. Dr. Jennifer Benice said the Manatee DoH was monitoring dozens of facilities, eight of which were a high priority.

“We have put a request in for the National Guard to come in and test at…six sites and many others,” Benice told FOX 13. “We need to keep an eye on the staff. They’re the ones who are bringing it in. They are asymptomatic.”

She added, “Not only were those staff members working in both facilities, but also going out into other facilities where we have since learned other persons have been testing positive in those facilities. We also had to serve an involuntary order against one of the employees who knowingly went to another facility and other persons tested positive."

Manatee County DoH said Braden River and Riviera Palms accounted for the most cases of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities in the county. 

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

"Unfortunately, as it has in so many other places, COVID-19 worked its way into our facility. Our concern goes out to all who are suffering, and we grieve for the treasured members of the Braden River Rehab Center family who have passed during the pandemic due to COVID-19 or to underlying health conditions that may have been complicated by COVID-19," Braden River said in a statement.

In total, Manatee County reports 445 cases of COVID-19 and 34 deaths. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.