ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Clay County holds the fifth highest number of coronavirus cases in long-term care facilities in Florida, and the state has begun identifying facilities with positive tests among staff and residents.
County officials said they are supplying long-term care facilities with personal protective equipment each week in hopes of limiting the spread of the respiratory illness, which has killed 39 people in Northeast Florida.
Of the 249 confirmed cases in Clay County, nearly half (115) are related to long-term care facilities. These facilities account for six of the county’s 11 virus-related deaths.
Statewide, one in 10 of Florida’s deaths have been linked to long-term care facilities, according to the latest data released by the health department.
News4Jax has reached out to each of the facilities identified by the state to find out how many cases they have, whether they’re among residents or staff, and how many deaths each has recorded.
"Out of respect for the privacy of all involved, we will not comment publicly on COVID-19 cases,” Governor’s Creek Health and Rehabilitation said in response to that request.
Brookdale Orange Park confirmed that a “member” of its facility has tested positive but did not provide details.
Seagrass Village of Fleming Island said it’s been 14 days since the community has had any positive cases. The facility continues accepting new admissions, but new residents are required to quarantine for 14 days.
As News4Jax previously reported, Heartland Health Care Center in Orange Park has confirmed it has seen a positive test, but declined to release additional details to the media:
“We are working on communicating information to families at this time. We are not releasing data to the media. However, we are working on a plan to post the data after we speak to families, patients and employees, but it is not completed yet.”
Two requests for information were still outstanding as of Monday afternoon.
Over the weekend, the White House Coronavirus Task Force stated that long-term care facilities are now required to inform patients and their families about confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The facilities News4Jax spoke with said they are complying with that rule.
On a local level, Clay County officials said they order thousands of pieces of protective equipment every week and have been distributing them to these facilities as well as first responders.
Officials also said there is a team of 21 nurses and three infectious disease specialities working with these facilities. It’s unclear why the county has seen cases rise in long-term care facilities.
Below are statements from the facilities that responded to News4Jax’s requests for information:
Seagrass Village of Fleming Island
Staying within the confidentiality and privacy guidelines of our residents, we cannot provide specific health details, but we can share it has been 14 days since the community has had any positive cases. With residents and staff of all assisted living communities falling into the high risk category for COVID-19, the team at Seagrass Village of Fleming Island has dedicated all resources to meet and exceed safety guidelines outlined by the CDC, including rigorous sanitizing schedules, increased temperature screening for residents and team members and strict quarantining measures with meals delivered to residents’ apartments. Seagrass Village staff has an ample supply of Personal Protective Equipment to use as they interact with residents, and the full team has been working tirelessly to protect our community residents. Our leadership has been in close contact with the Department of Health and AHCA for guidance during this unprecedented time and both agencies have visited the community and are impressed by our precautionary measures. We are closely monitoring for any signs of illness and continue to keep our residents and families informed of the community status. We are taking every precaution possible to protect our residents, staff and community. At this time, we are still accepting new admissions, but are requiring any new resident to remain in strict quarantine for 14 days.Seagrass Village of Fleming Island
Brookdale Orange Park
Brookdale’s top priority is the health and safety of our residents, patients, and associates. We can confirm that a member of our Brookdale Orange Park has tested positive for COVID-19. We have informed residents, their family members, and associates of Brookdale Orange Park of this matter. We are diligently monitoring our residents and associates for signs and symptoms, and we continue to work directly with local health officials to help ensure our residents and associates have the appropriate and necessary medical support. We will continue to follow the guidance of the local health authorities throughout this situation. Additionally, we have been closely following our established policies and procedures for contagious illnesses and are also closely following the guidance and protocols recommended by the Clay County Health Department and the CDC. We have detailed protocols and plans in place to respond to this situation, prioritizing the health and wellness of our residents. Since reports of COVID-19 in the United States were confirmed, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, Brookdale has proactively implemented precautionary measures throughout our communities. Our emergency response teams and experienced operational and clinical teams are working tirelessly to minimize chances for exposure and additional transmission of the virus and we are regularly providing updated information in our online newsroom, www.brookdalenews.com. We thank our staff, residents and their families for their continued understanding as we work to promote the health and wellbeing of our community members.Brookdale Orange Park
Governor’s Creek Health and Rehabilitation
During these unprecedented times, we are deeply committed to the safety and protection of our staff and residents. We are diligently following all CDC and CMS guidelines, working in close partnership with our local and state healthcare agencies, and taking every measure to safeguard our centers against the threat of COVID-19. Our dedicated caregivers are working night and day, often leaving their own families to care for our family of residents, and we thank them for their service and heroic efforts. Out of respect for the privacy of all involved, we will not comment publicly on COVID-19 cases. We will continue to communicate timely with the proper healthcare agencies, families, staff and residents as necessary and appropriate. If families have concerns about their loved one, we encourage them to contact the care center directly. We appreciate the support of everyone who stands with us in our commitment to keeping staff and patient well-being as our highest priority.Governors Creek Health and Rehabilitation