COVID-19 clusters found at 3 long-term care facilities in Northeast Florida, report shows

Facilities in Orange Park, Green Cove Springs and Jacksonville reported high numbers of cases

One woman whose mother IS at one of these facilities say she's concerned about the high number of positive cases for COVID-19.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – There have been dozens of COVID-19 cases found in three Northeast Florida long-term care facilities.

State health officials on Monday released specific case numbers for facilities across the state as many families and media outlets have been looking for answers. Statewide, there are a total of 2,298 cases in nearly 400 of these facilities.

Three facilities in Northeast Florida stood out with higher numbers, including Heartland Health Care Center in Orange Park, which had 46 residents and staff test positive, and Governor’s Creek Health and Rehabilitation in Green Cove Springs, which had 41 residents and staff test positive. A long-term care facility on Jacksonville’s Southside also reported a high number of cases.

Positive COVID-19 case at Heartland Health Care Center

Florida Department of Health data shows that 10 assisted living facilities in Clay County and 13 facilities in Duval County have reported at least one positive COVID-19 case.

News4Jax first started receiving tips from people who have loved ones at or work in Governor’s Creek in Green Cove Springs. As of Friday, these are the numbers: 26 residents had tested positive, five cases had transferred out and 15 staff had tested positive.

Carol Curry, a certified nursing assistant at Governor’s Creek, said the facility has two COVID-19 halls, one on each side of the building.

News4Jax reached out to Governor’s Creek on Monday and management said it is “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.”

At Heartland Health Care Center, as of Friday, 32 residents had tested positive, 11 patients had been transferred out and 14 staff members had positive tests.

On Jacksonville’s Southside, there’s Camellia at Deerwood. According to the facility, it has had 19 positive cases among residents – 16 of them have transferred out. Eight staff have tested positive – six of them have already recovered.

Virginia Lesperance said her 75-year-old mother lives at Camellia at Deerwood. She spoke with the I-TEAM last month after learning of the second person diagnosed with COVID-19 at the facility. She says she was unaware of the numbers at Camellia but says she’s keeping her mother there. Her mom has not tested positive.

“It is concerning that there is that many residents,” she said. “But I also feel like they’ve stayed ahead of it and they were proactive in going around and screening the residents and keeping them in isolation.”

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said there’s an issue with infected workers getting inside nursing homes and they’re working to cut down on that.

“Unfortunately, there have been cases where sick workers have been able to go has caused outbreaks and you’ve ended up having residents infected,” DeSantis said. “There’s also examples though of rep workers going in staff going in who did not have symptoms, but eventually spread it to the staff and you’d have big outbreaks with the staff eventually affect the resident.”

As of Tuesday, Clay County had a total of 272 positive cases of COVID-19 and Duval County had 1,001. Of the 14 reported deaths in Clay County, nine are connected to long-term care facilities. Nine of the 20 deaths reported in Duval County are connected to long-term care facilities.

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Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.