Coronavirus outbreaks reported at 2 Pinellas County nursing homes

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A coronavirus outbreak is impacting at least 18 Pinellas County families. More than a dozen elderly residents between two nursing homes tested positive, one in St. Petersburg and another in Pinellas Park.

8 On Your Side is working to get answers for worried family members who have a loved ones living at Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park and St. Pete Nursing and Rehab.


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

In total, the two facilities have the capacity to care for more than 200 patients.

“She’s a spitfire, got a lot of energy!,” said David VanWanzeele.

VanWanzeele’s 80-year-old mother-in-law Purita was recently diagnosed with coronavirus.

“Despite everything that has happened she’s been able to get up, move around, and is excited to come back home,” said VanWanzeele.

80-Year-Old Purita Gulf Shore Care Center resident who tested positive for COVID, according to son-in-law

He went to Gulf Shore Care Center Tuesday to gather Purita’s personal things. She was rushed to the hospital Saturday when she tested positive for COVID-19.

“We don’t know exactly when she contracted it. It could have been when she was the hospital, on her way over here, while she was here. Who knows,” said VanWanzeele.

8 On Your Side learned Tuesday that Purita is one of five patients from the Gulf Shore Care Center with COVID-19.

According to the full breakdown from the Florida Department of Health that lists the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes, there are five residents from the Pinellas Park facility who tested positive for the virus, along with two staff members.

At the St. Pete home, there are 10 residents who tested positive along with one staff member,

8 On Your Side asked the directors of both facilities how and when the outbreaks started.

According to the FL-DOH website, the 10 residents from the St. Pete facility who tested positive were not transported, so where are they now?

The Executive Director of the St. Pete facility said they care deeply about their patients. The full statement from the facility reads:

“St. Pete deeply cares about its residents and seeks to use every available avenue to help protect their health, safety, and welfare. We have transferred some suspected positive residents to the area hospital and transferred some residents last evening under the guidance and direction of the Florida Department of Health to another facility. We will continue to work with and seek guidance from all governmental agencies and hope that together we will have more success than the thousands of other skilled nursing facilities across the United States and the globe that have come before us.”

Ron Tencza, NHA
Executive Director of St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehab

8 On Your Side will continue working for answers to other questions.

“For 20 years we’ve lived here, we built this house so we’ve been here forever,” said Allison Gordon, who lives near the facility. She’s concerned about her family.

“My kid is out here skateboarding all the time so it’s a concern but I just hope they’re all okay and that it gets handled soon,” said Gordon.

Meanwhile, VanWanzeele is hopeful his mother-in-law Purita will pull through.

“We’re thankful they took care of her and she’s in good hands at the hospital she’s at now,” said VanWanzeele.

According to the Department of Health website, there have been no deaths at either facility as of Tuesday night.

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