Florida coronavirus: Outbreak at Tampa nursing home with history of deficiency citations

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is investigating a facility that houses one of the worst nursing home coronavirus outbreaks in Hillsborough County.

State records indicate nearly 50 coronavirus cases at The Bristol at Tampa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.


WHAT TO KNOW:

  • Florida is reporting 85,926 cases and 3,061 deaths
  • Florida in Phase Two of reopening
  • Cases have spiked in past week, Gov. DeSantis says due to increased testing

Right now, with two deaths tied to this facility, and reports of more, 8 On Your Side is digging into what’s being done to protect the people who live there.

The latest state numbers show 47 people have tested positive at The Bristol at Tampa.

At least two residents have died.

8 On Your Side began investigating after loved ones told us about additional deaths this weekend.

An administrator at the facility sent us a message, stating they cannot confirm if any of their residents later died at the hospital.

Unlike other nursing homes in the Tampa Bay area, The Bristol at Tampa is not releasing details on transfers.

“We have also partnered with local hospitals and have transported patients who are in need of a higher-level of care to acute care providers,” wrote an administrator.

We asked Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care, what it means to be on the state’s watch list.

“I think Florida is the only one that has this type of watch list and it’s the state nursing home hall of shame,” he said.

Lee’s non-profit advocates for nursing home residents in Florida and beyond.

He’s been investigating issues within this industry for more than two decades.

“You land on this watch list for chronically dangerous conditions abuse, neglect… potential emergency preparedness problems or bankruptcy issues,” said Lee.

To learn about The Bristol at Tampa’s history, we dug through state inspection reports.

In 2018, investigators said the “facility failed to report alleged abuse for two of 63 sampled residents.”

The next year, patients left The Bristol at Tampa but inspectors allege the facility “failed to document any reason for discharge.”

In November, the facility got into trouble for its infection prevention and control practices.

“This is really screaming sirens right now,” said Lee.

State inspectors say, a nurse was caring for a patient’s wound and instead of washing her hands for 20 seconds, it’s alleged she scrubbed her hands for only eight, 10 or 11 seconds.

“That 20 second rule can mean the difference between life or death,” said Lee.

In a statement to 8 On Your Side, administration at the facility said, “We continue to remain positive, and we continue to do our part to go above and beyond what is recommended by regulatory bodies to ensure the health and safety for those under our care.”

The nursing home adds they’ve “partnered with the Department of Health and have tested all patients and staff this past weekend.”

Meantime, the Department of Health said they have offered to test patients and staff, however the facility prefers to use its own vendor.

As 8 On Your Side has documented, the DOH often does mass testing at facilities after an outbreak; however, this nursing home is utilizing its own vendor.

Test results are expected in five to seven days.

The DOH is communicating daily with facility staff.

DOH has provided personal protective equipment, carried out staff training, and made best practice recommendations, said the agency.

If you have a tip about a nursing home, contact MSaeidi@WFLA.com.

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