3 dead amid coronavirus outbreak at Seminole nursing home, other patients evacuated

Coronavirus

SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) – At least three COVID-19 deaths have been reported at a Pinellas County nursing home hit by an outbreak, according to county officials.

The Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office confirms three residents at Seminole Pavilion Rehab and Freedom Square died of coronavirus.

“Freedom Square is deeply saddened to report that three former patients of Seminole Pavilion, who tested positive for COVID-19, have passed away,” a facility spokesperson said in a statement. “One patient died on April 11 and two others died Friday, April 17. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of these patients and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time.”

8 On Your Side first reported on the outbreak at the facility on Thursday after 21 patients and six staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Ambulance after ambulance lined up at the facility on Friday as fire rescue personnel wearing personal protection equipment worked to remove other patients from the facility.

“Over this past week, Freedom Square began an orderly and voluntary transfer of Seminole Pavilion Rehabilitation patients who were asymptomatic but potentially exposed, symptomatic or who had confirmed cases of COVID-19 to three local hospitals for treatment and monitoring,” Freedom Square said. “On the advice of our partners, and out of an abundance of caution, at noon on Friday, April 17, Freedom Square made the decision to transfer all remaining patients from Seminole Pavilion to local hospitals. The families of all impacted residents have been contacted to let them know of the change in their loved one’s situation.”

Pinellas County says by the end of the day, all patients will be removed from the facility, making more than 100 evacuations since patients began testing positive for COVID-19.

Carol Valentine says she had to remove her mother from the facility and drive her to the hospital herself on Easter Sunday.

“She tested positive Sunday night. They did a test on her right away, so now she’s in isolation up at the big hospital – Morton Plant – and they are doing everything they can to get her through this. She has a mild case so far,” said Valentine.

She is upset because she says the facility didn’t give her any information about patients at Freedom Square being exposed to COVID-19.

“Something funny was going on over there around the second or third of April because they closed all the doors and was not giving any information out,” said Valentine.

Dennis Keaton is also angry. His 103-year-old mother was in the facility and removed without warning Thursday night.

“Every time I’ve talked to anybody there – the administration, the director of nurses or the front desk – they all assure me there is not one resident there or one staff member with the coronavirus, that they are completely clean,” Keaton said. “So it always gives us a sense of false security.”

So far he believes his mother does not have COVID-19. But she’s now in another hospital around people who do have the virus.

“If they’d of told me the truth in the beginning, that there was a possibility of her contracting it there, I could have taken her home,” said Keaton.

His mother, Mildred Keaton, was born two years before the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. He’s worried she may not survive a second worldwide contamination.

“We all know that she’s 103 and she’s not going to live forever, but I just can’t see her going out like this,” said Keaton.

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