Long-term care facilities are among the most active fronts in Florida’s war against the novel coronavirus, and casualties continue to pile up.
The Florida Times-Union reported four more deaths in long-term care facilities as of Friday’s report from Florida’s Department of Health.
Two of them were at a facility in Green Cove Springs. Governor’s Creek Health and Rehabilitation now has seen seven deaths, according to the Times-Union.
The facility has 27 more positive tests on site, with 12 more patients transferred. Staff infections, at 19, are also a problem.
Signature Healthcare of Jacksonville also has two newly-reported deaths.
Clay County, as of Friday’s figures, has 15 deaths in its long-term care facilities. Duval County has 11, a small fraction of the 844 in the state, with nearly half of those being in Southeast Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has focused, both in terms of rhetoric and resources, on long-term care facilities, including in the Jacksonville market.
Roughly 85% of COVID-19 deaths are among those at or over the age of 65, according to DeSantis.
“We have over 4,400 long-term care facilities in the state of Florida, over 150,000 residents and almost 200,000 staff who work at these various facilities which is a very important vector to worry about in the transmission of the disease,” DeSantis said this week.
He has messaged for weeks about having 50 National Guard “strike teams” in facilities, testing for COVID-19, and has said that testing has to ramp up as a matter of course in these facilities going forward.
“There is surveillance testing that is going on that is a way to identify a trend or a blip,” DeSantis said.
Earlier in May, the Governor came to the Arlington area to spotlight a Dolphin Pointe, which is being used exclusively for COVID-19 treatment and recovery for residents relocated from long-term care facilities.
Dolphin Pointe has negative pressure rooms and other amenities many nursing homes lack.
Even as DeSantis continues incrementally reopening the economy, he sees long-term care facilities as an ongoing concern, given the “disease with a disproportionate effect on the elderly, particularly those with co-morbidities.”
The Governor has noted other states have actually discharged COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes while still contagious, a “disastrous” practice.
“There’s a bunch of other states that have real, real problems with this,” DeSantis has said, citing New York specifically.