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40% of COVID-19 deaths in Florida linked to long-term care facilities

38 of those facilities are in Duval County

Thirty-eight of those facilities are in Duval County.
Thirty-eight of those facilities are in Duval County.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As doctors locally and nationally predict a second wave of COVID-19 cases, there’s a warning.

“When you look at the death rate, overall, the death rate in the 50 and above range is much higher than it is below 50 years old," said Dave Caro, M.D., a disaster medical officer at UF Health Jacksonville who sees COVID-19 patients every day. “It’s a combination of factors there, but all results in our older population being more vulnerable.”

Caro said that if a person has hypertension or diabetes in addition to having COVID-19, and the patient is 50 or older, the person is more vulnerable to death.

“Nursing home patients are a high-risk group, and we are really concerned about that population, as well,” Caro said.

According to state data, about 40% of the COVID-19 deaths in Florida during the pandemic have been linked to long-term care facilities.

Data tracked by the state shows all of the long-term care facilities in Florida that have reported COVID-19 deaths. Of those facilities, 38 are in Duval County.

The three Duval County facilities that have reported the most deaths are:

  • Signature Healthcare of Jacksonville - 21 resident deaths.
  • Taylor Care Center - 16 resident deaths and one staff death.
  • Jacksonville Nursing and Rehab Center - 16 resident deaths.

And Heartland Health Care Center Jacksonville has had six residents contract COVID-19 and die. The health care provider, which has other branches throughout the state, sent News4Jax the following statement:

"Where COVID is increasing in certain parts of the country, we have seen some spikes in positive cases in our facilities as well. The ability to test regularly (in most facilities we test weekly) and have access to proper PPE has enable us to be able to contain the virus. Most individuals testing positive are asymptomatic so being able to quarantine or isolate earlier has helped manage the virus.

"Our mortality rate has decreased along with our number of cases and for the most part is due to access to PPE, following infection control procedures and ongoing testing for everyone coming to our facilities. We are doing well with PPE but the cost for PPE and weekly testing along with temporary staffing when we have employees out, is significant for us and across the industry.

“As we open our centers to visitations, that is a benefit to the wellbeing of our patients but also a concern to ensure that everyone follows infection control processes. We strongly encourage the community to be safe and following all the CDC’s recommendations for safe holidays, social distancing and infection control. Our team of healthcare heroes have been amazing for the last nine months and we want to keep them safe and healthy so they can continue to provide the care our patients and residents need.”

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