Coronavirus now reported in 146 NE Florida long-term care centers

Nora Howard during a window visit with her daughters earlier this summer. (Special to WJXT)

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – It has been months since families have been allowed to hug their loved one in Florida’s long-term care facilities yet confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to pop up facilities across Northeast Florida putting those most vulnerable at risk.

According to the latest report from the state, there are 146 long-term care facilities in Northeast Florida with confirmed coronavirus cases among either residents, staff or both.

“I’ve never felt that my mom hasn’t felt good until now,” Teresa Botkin said of her mother, 90-year-old Nora Howard.

Howard has been a resident of Signature Healthcare of Orange Park since last October. Botkins had nothing but good things to say about the facility until Thursday night when her sister, Kim, went to visit their mother.

“When Kim got there, they said, ‘Well, your mom isn’t there,' and she’s thinking, ‘Well, OK, where is she?‘” Botkins said. “They said, ‘We had to move her. She’s COVID positive.”

Botkin said she was never made aware that her mom was moved to the Signature Healthcare facility in Jacksonville. Which is an issue because her mother has Alzheimer’s and Botkin is her power of attorney.

“I should have been notified. I was never notified,” Botkin said.

Botkin is also confused about how her mom got the virus.

“It doesnt make sense. My mom has been negative this entire time. I haven’t been able to see her. We haven’t been able to see her. She’s been in isolation so the only people she’s seen is their staff,” Botkin said.

COVID-19 cases keep popping up in long-term care facilities across Northeast Florida, including:

  • Clay County – Signature Healthcare of Orange Park – 18 residents, 14 residents transferred, 37 staff testing positive (69 total connected cases)
  • Duval – Fouraker Hills Rehab and Nursing Center – 43 residents, 7 residents transferred, 26 staff (76 total connected cases)
  • Duval – Heartland Health Care Center Jacksonville – 13 residents, 18 residents transferred, 32 staff (63 total connected cases)
  • Duval – Jacksonville Nursing & Rehab Center – 3 residents, 22 residents transferred, 35 staff (60 total connected cases)
  • Duval – Park Ridge Nursing Center – 41 residents, 12 residents transferred, 35 staff (88 connected cases)
  • Duval – St. Catherine Laboure Manor – 25 residents, 8 residents transferred, 19 staff (52 connected cases)
  • Duval – Taylor Care Center – 27 residents, 27 residents transferred, 8 staff (62 connected cases)

INTERACTIVE: Tracking COVID-19 cases at NE Florida’s long-term care facilities

RELATED: Mounting cases sparks concern at Florida’s nursing homes

Botkin said she’s concerned other families may also have been left in the dark.

“For her 90th birthday, we couldn’t hug her, couldn’t touch her, couldn’t have her blow out candles with us there, but you guys can see her and do that and you got her sick,” Botkin said. “My message is: do what you said you would do and take care of our loved ones.”

Signature HealthCARE of Orange Park sent News4Jax this statement in regards to Botkin’s allegations.

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