JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The state set up an incident command center at an assisted living facility on the Southside of Jacksonville on Monday as the number of COVID-19 cases there continues to rise.
The facility, Camellia at Deerwood, has confirmed at least seven of its residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
A team of infectious disease experts, logistics experts and clinical professionals have been at this assisted-living facility since Sunday and for more than a week, staff has quarantined all residents, delivering everything from mail to meals to prevent them from coming into contact with other residents.
In total, 14 people in long-term care facilities in Duval County have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the most recent state numbers.
In nearby Baker County, the Macclenny Nursing & Rehab Center confirmed to News4Jax on Monday that three of its residents have tested positive for the deadly virus.
A total of 34 residents in Florida’s long-term care facilities have tested positive.
State and local leaders, including the health department, have not said if the newest cases are from Camellia at Deerwood or if other facilities in the county are also experiencing outbreaks.
According to the health department, an 83-year-old resident of Camellia at Deerwood died after contracting the virus. It was the first coronavirus-related death in Northeast Florida.
Garay Holland traveled more than 15 hours to stand outside his mother’s window at Camellia. He said his family is happy with how residents are being cared for at the facility.
“They’re limiting the number of people that come in, even staff members, in order to absolute you know bare-bones type contact with the residents,” Holland said. “My mother agrees with my brother and me that she’s probably in the most in the safest places she could be during this coronavirus epidemic and she’s very happy and very healthy.”
The team of infectious disease experts is expected to remain at the facility for two days or more.
State data shows there are also residents of long-term care facilities in other Northeast Florida counties testing positive for COVID-19: one in Clay County and another in Bradford County.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he plans to send thousands of personal protective equipment to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the state to protect health care workers and residents.
“We want all nursing homes and assisted living centers throughout the state have enough personal protective equipment so that any staff member interacts with a resident at least has one of those respiratory masks, like an AED the clothes and the other stuff but at least you have that,” he said.
News4Jax is working to find out where these additional cases are happening. Representatives for multiple agencies said they can’t say which facility the cases are happening in due to patient privacy.
So far, News4Jax has reached out to the state and local health department, the mayor’s office, the agency for health care administration and the governor’s office.