Department of Health incident command team sent to Southside assisted living facility

7 residents of Camellia at Deerwood have tested positive for COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida Department of Health incident command team will be on-site at a Southside assisted living facility for the next few days, according to a message sent Sunday to residents and family members.

The message, which was shared with the News4Jax I-TEAM, comes after seven residents of Camellia at Deerwood tested positive for the coronavirus. One of those residents, an 83-year-old man, died after testing positive for COVID-19.

According to the message, the incident command team -- which is made up of medical and clinical professionals, infectious disease experts and logistics experts -- will be on-site beginning Sunday and will remain for two additional days. The message stated the team will provide additional support, guidance, training and hands-on assistance for the community.

In addition to the 15 to 20 team members who will be on property grounds, there will also be a mobile command center, according to the message.

State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said this week that any assisted living facility with five positive coronavirus cases will have an incident team sent in. That team will go door to door, check in on every resident and make sure the facility has proper decontamination and cleaning protocols in place.

At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Brian Hughes, chief administrative officer for the city, provided an update on Camellia at Deerwood.

“Clearly, (there are) more cases there than there have been elsewhere, so it seems there’s a pattern,” Hughes said. “We are assisting the state at that location for cleaning and staff guidance. That starts tomorrow.”

When asked whether there were any other clusters of cases in the city, Hughes said, “That is really the one that is sort of a cluster, but the rest seem to be sporadic.”

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Camellia at Deerwood residents have been confined to their rooms, and most visitation has been canceled.

On Sunday afternoon, News4Jax met one couple who drove over from Gainesville to visit an 86-year-old friend. They had to have their conversation through her balcony.

“She told us it’s been it has been a little bit lonely, even though she keeps up with friends and family. But the only people she’s really seen are the people who work here and bring her meals and everything," said Laurie and John Tull. “It feels good to brighten someone’s day up a little bit cause she really did seem pretty lonely."

Camellia at Deerwood management said, out of precaution, they’re continuing to test additional residents, even those that don’t fit normal testing protocol.

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