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3 residents dead, 95 others evacuated after COVID-19 outbreak at Pinellas County nursing home

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Posted at 1:19 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 00:30:35-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Three people are dead from COVID-19 at the Freedom Square of Seminole rehabilitation center in Pinellas County.

The Pinellas County Medical Examiner's office said a 74-year-old man died on April 11, and an 84-year-old woman and a 66-year-old man died on Friday. They were all residents of the nursing home.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF CORONAVIRUS

Freedom Square of Seminole released a statement Friday evening:

  • They said a total of 95 patients have been transferred out of the center. All of those patients were tested for COVID-19.
  • As a result of the testing, 53 patients tested negative, 36 tested positive and six are still awaiting test results.
  • Currently, the only positive resident cases in the Freedom Square campus have been in Seminole Pavilion.

On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County confirmed that there are nearly 60 coronavirus cases related to long-term care facilities in Pinellas County.

According to county officials, many of those cases are linked to one nursing home in Seminole.

According to a statement from Freedom Square of Seminole, the nursing home transferred 38 of its residents to 3 different local area hospitals on Tuesday. They say 27 of them were confirmed to have the coronavirus, including 21 residents and 6 employees.

The patients who had not tested positive were either symptomatic, or were asymptomatic but potentially exposed. All 38 patients are being monitored at those local hospitals.

Officials with Freedom Square say the residents were transferred as a proactive measure to contain the spread of the virus and to allow their employees to focus on the remaining patients in the building.

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In their statement they said:

This unprecedented move is a remarkable testament to the collaborative spirit of Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services, HCA Healthcare and BayCare Health System. We appreciate the support of these partners now more than ever as we navigate the uncertain realities related to COVID-19.

Pinellas Assistant County Administrator Lourdes Benedict praised the work of the local hospitals, “The collaboration and partnership of the hospitals has been outstanding," said Benedict.

Officials with Freedom Square said they are in the process of testing all of their residents and employees and are "closely monitoring all residents and employees to ensure that anyone who becomes symptomatic follows the protocols necessary to limit the spread."

They also continue to adhere to regional, federal, and CDC required protocols, and have hired a professional cleaning service to disinfect all of their health centers.