Coronavirus cases grow, spread to another building at Seminole nursing home facility


SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) — Coronavirus cases continue to rise at a Seminole nursing home complex where roughly 100 patients were evacuated last week.

As of Monday, Freedom Square Seminole reported at least three positive cases within its Freedom Square Rehabilitation building. Those individuals have been taken to the hospital.

Two other patients were relocated and tested but ultimately were negative.

On Friday, all 95 patients at Freedom Square’s Seminole Pavilion were evacuated after more than 30 patients within the building contracted COVID-19. Three of those patients have died.

At the time, Freedom Square believed the outbreak to be contained to just that one building.

A release from Freedom Square’s executive director Monday reported a total of 41 Freedom Square patients and 21 employees are positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, 8 On Your Side spoke to Barbara Namias, a Virginia woman who had reason to believe there were cases inside the rehabilitation where her 88-year-old mother is recovering. However, she couldn’t get a straight answer from the facility.

Namias’ fear became fact the following day.

“My mother has no clue what’s going on,” she said Monday during a follow-up interview. “My brothers in New York are distraught.”

Her 88-year-old mother, Barbara Rocco from New York, fell and broke her neck two days into their family Florida vacation. Namias and her husband have been stuck here ever since as the broken neck led to surgeries and sepsis.

Rocco is ready to be discharged but because Namias and her husband both suffer health issues, they can’t take her until they know she’s virus-free following potential exposure in the facility.

But in that Monday release, the executive director said testing is only available to staff and symptomatic patients. Namias’ mother doesn’t qualify.

Not knowing if her mother could be carrying the disease, Namias is fearful to pull her from the facility. But, if the virus continues to spread through Freedom Square, she also knows she can’t stay.

“It is their obligation and moral duty to test the other patients,” Namias said tearfully. “My mother is in jeopardy. She may not mean anything to them, but she’s my mom. She means everything to us.”

8 On Your Side made several attempts to reach the executive director of Freedom Square Monday to ask what it would take to get additional testing. Our calls and emails were not returned as of this writing.

As of Monday 21 Pinellas County long term care facilities are reporting COVID-19 cases.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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