2 more residents of Jacksonville senior living facility test positive for coronavirus

7 people have tested positive at Southside assisted living facility

An additional two residents of Camellia at Deerwood have been diagnosed with the coroanvirus, and a total of seven people at the assisted living facility have tested positive for the virus.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An additional two residents of Camellia at Deerwood were diagnosed with the coroanvirus, bringing the total of people at the assisted living facility testing positive for the virus to seven.

A letter distributed Saturday to residents and family members of Camellia reads in part:

“The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed two more residents have a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Both of those individuals were already quarantined in the hospital.”

The facility had the very first known case of the coronavirus identified in Duval County. It was an 83-year-old resident, who was taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment. That patient later died.

A second case was reported at the facility on Monday. A day later, News4Jax learned of four cases reported case at the facility. On Thursday, News4Jax learned of the fifth diagnosis.

Management of the facility sent this statement to News4Jax on Saturday: “Out of an abundance of caution, the DOH has initiated testing of some additional individuals that do not meet the standard criteria.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said if they become aware of an assisted living facility with five positive cases, they send in a STRIKE team.

“A STRIKE team will consist of nurse, epidemiologist, infection control specialist and somebody from ACHA (Agency for Health Care Administration). We will go door to door," Rivkees said "We actually did this earlier this week. We checked every resident for their temperature. We made sure these individuals are well, made sure they’re isolated, made sure the facility has proper decontamination and cleaning protocols in place.”

Rivkees also says they are making sure any residents who are sick will get medical attention.

"We have to make sure workers going in there are screened, make sure contractors are screened. We have a command center where if a facility has a concern, they can call. It’s manned 24 hours a day,” he said.

According to the state, Camellia is one of more than a dozen long-term health facilities across the state with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

In Broward County – two residents of a senior living facility died after testing positive for the virus – and five other residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Since learning of the confirmed cases at Camellia in Jacksonville, many families have pulled their loved ones out.

“I do worry about it becoming worse,” said Virginia Lesperance, whose mother lives at the facility.

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About the Authors:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad

Kelly Wiley, an award-winning investigative reporter, joined the News4Jax I-Team in June 2019.