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COVID-19 takes toll on people with disabilities

FILE - Vials with samples taken for the new coronavirus are counted before they are prepared for RNA testing. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
FILE - Vials with samples taken for the new coronavirus are counted before they are prepared for RNA testing. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fifty-four people served by the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities have died of COVID-19, according to a report Tuesday.

In all, 1,196 Agency for Persons with Disabilities beneficiaries have tested positive for the virus, with 803 having recovered, said Melanie Etters, an agency spokeswoman.

The agency report also shows that 353 workers at group homes or private institutions that care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have tested positive for the virus, and six of those workers have died.

Additionally, 49 employees of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities have tested positive for the virus, including eight who work at the Sunland Center state institution in Marianna and 16 who work at the Tacachale state institution in Gainesville.

Another 17 employees who have tested positive work at what is known as DDDP, a forensic program administered by the agency.

Another 68 state employees — 65 of whom work at those three institutions — are isolated and not included in the COVID-19 positive count.