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Baker County nursing home says patient moved to facility brought coronavirus

Ten of the county’s 11 positive cases were located at the facility.

The company that owns the nursing home in Baker County that saw a sudden spike of 10 coronavirus cases said the illness was bought into the facility from someone who was recently admitted.

The Macclenny Nursing and Rehab Center suddenly found that 10 patients in the facility had been infected with COVID-19 on Thursday. Only one other case of the infection had been reported in the county prior to the outbreak in the nursing home, the Florida Department Health data showed on the coronavirus dashboard.

Susan Kaar, vice president of compliance and quality management for the nursing home’s owning company Southern Healthcare Management LLC, sent an email to Florida Politics. She said the virus spread quickly.

“The facility’s first resident was confirmed positive soon after being admitted to the center from a local hospital.  Shortly thereafter, while monitoring residents, the center suggested testing two additional residents who appeared to be displaying signs and symptoms of COVID-19,” Kaar said in the email statement.

Those Macclenny victims were transferred to a “local hospital,” Kaar said, though she did not specify which facility.

“As a proactive and preventative measure, the facility management decided to have all residents and staff tested for the virus,” and that’s when additional cases were found, she said.

The statement did not clarify how many of the 10 victims were elderly patients and how many were staff. Kaar said privacy rights prevent the release of additional information.

“We continue to collaborate with, and appreciate the support of, the local Department of Health,” Karr said.

Baker County Commission Chair James Bennett Friday said county first responders have handled the situation and the jurisdiction is taking the outbreak in stride.

“This condition is a challenging situation for many folks,” Bennett said Friday. “Our Health Department has worked very closely and have kept us informed. Our residents are doing a great job of following the recommendations from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] as well as the Governor. So, I’m not hearing a tremendous amount of fear right now from our society.”

The DOH coronavirus dashboard Saturday said Baker County held steady at 11 victims of the illness with no deaths.

Written By

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at

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