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Coronavirus Impact: Pompano Beach Senior Living Facility Latest Hot Spot For COVID-19

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The Court at Palm Aire Senior Living Facility appears to be the latest hot spot for COVID-19 at a South Florida long term care facility.

The Florida Health Department says over a 1,000 people at senior living facilities statewide have tested positive for the coronavirus.

And now comes word of infections at Miami Jewish Health, where they have independent assisted living and nursing home facilities confirming in a statement, "We do have employees and residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. All families have been notified and immediate action taken."

"We have planned and prepared for this and a strict protocol is being followed, including isolation
and monitoring."

"I think the governor needs to do more testing," said Linda Chamberlain, who runs a company providing caregiving to seniors.

She says while most senior facilities are doing a good job following safety practices.

"I think another step is to have the same people on staff to limit exposure."

The governor won't name which senior facilities have corona cases. Chamberlain believes it's time for a change.

"I can find out how many people have it at my local Publix, but I can't find out if my mother-in-law's facility has it and I'd want to know so I can decide whether to move her out."

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Palm Aire Community said in a statement regarding the deaths at that facility:

"We are deeply saddened to confirm that two of our skilled nursing residents, who had previously been hospitalized on April 7, have passed away due to complications related to COVID-19."

The spokesperson said six other residents were tested for COVID-19 and five of them tested positive.

The statement says that "Five individuals remain in the hospital under quarantine and one is in quarantine in our skilled nursing facility. All of these individuals are receiving the necessary medical support."

What happened at the Court at Palm Aire appears to be exactly what Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters he is working to avoid — outbreaks of COVID-19 at nursing homes.

DeSantis is creating strike teams to do spot testing of willing residents and staff at long term care facilities to try and get ahead of these types of situations

"We want to expand that as widely as we can. It's very, very important that we focus resources on the people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19."

In addition to the deaths at Palm Aire, seven residents of the Atria Willow Wood nursing facility in Fort Lauderdale died from COVID-19 several weeks ago.

A total of 21 residents at Atria Willow Wood have tested positive for the virus.
DeSantis said it's important to test staff members at nursing homes to determine if they are asymptomatic.

There is one staff member who is not symptomatic and they can affect 10, 20 other staff members and obviously that can transfer over to the residents.

The spokesperson said they are working with the city of Pompano Beach to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and have implemented protocols in the community.

The statement says, "Our experienced professionals are working tirelessly to minimize opportunities for exposure to the virus and have been monitoring all residents and staff for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including with regular temperature checks..."

The Palm Aire community spokesperson said their hearts go out to the families of the victims.

CBS4 reached out to the spokesperson with additional questions about whether residents are being isolated or if there have been other cases of COVID-19 here in the past few weeks.

CS4 wants to know if Palm Aire knows how the virus might have been spread in the facility.

We're awaiting a response.

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