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St. Petersburg assisted living facility reports new COVID-19 outbreak

12 patients have tested positive, with more expected.

A St. Petersburg assisted living facility has reported a new coronavirus outbreak, according to Pinellas County officials. The facility, in a subsequent update, said 14 residents and six staff members have tested positive so far.

In an email to Pinellas County Commissioners, Assistant County Administrator Lourdes Benedict said 12 patients at the Grand Villa Senior Living facility tested positive. Of those, three had already been transported to area hospitals an the other nine were on standby.

The email did not state to which hospitals patients were being transported.

“Our EMS team has worked out what hospitals the 9 will be transported to as needed.  I talked with Dr. (Ulyee) Choe (Florida Department of Health in Pinellas director) and he has been in contact with the nursing home etc.,” Benedict wrote.

Her email suggested more cases were expected.

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“Testing results continue to trickle in,” she wrote.

The county did not provide any additional information.

Grand Villa President John Moschner said all of the cases were from the facility’s memory care unit.

“Last week, one of our memory care residents in St. Pete was sent to a health care facility for something unrelated and while there, tested positive for COVID. That resident will continue to receive treatment at the health care facility and will be able to return to the community once they are free of symptoms and have had the necessary negative test results,” he said.

“We have been in contact with the local Health Department to discuss contact tracing investigations and any other recommendations they may have. We will continue to follow the guidance from local and state regulators as well as our strict requirements for the use of personal protective equipment and social distancing for the health and safety of everyone in our community.”

The facility has been and will continue taking the following precautions:

— Routine testing for staff and residents, paid for entirely by Grand Villa
— Monitoring all staff members and residents closely for signs and symptoms of the virus
— Requiring all staff to wear personal protective equipment whenever providing resident care
— Promoting good infection control practices, including social distancing, frequent hand washing and good hygiene
— Asking all residents to remain in their individual apartments unless they have medical appointments or other approved appointments
— Asking all resident to wear masks while out of their rooms or receiving individual care
— Cleaning and disinfecting the community on a regular basis.

As of Friday morning, the most recent data available in a detailed report naming facilities where infections have been reported, 58 Pinellas County longterm care facilities had reported outbreaks. Grand Villa was not among those listed, suggesting that this is the first the facility has encountered problems with the virus.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, 77 people have died associated with outbreaks at longterm care facilities in the county, including residents, patients and staff. A total of 429 residents, patients and staff had tested positive from longterm care facilities, out of a total of 2,051 cases countywide.

Longterm care COVID-19 cases account for about 21% of the counties total caseload.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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