Family reunites with mom after evacuation from COVID-19 outbreak at Seminole ALF


PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (WFLA) – When 8 On Your Side spoke with Dennis Keaton ten days ago, he said he was not sure he’d ever see his elderly mother again.

But on Monday afternoon, he was able to do so through the window of her new room.

“Amazing, 103-year-old woman made it through all that,” Keaton said.

Mildred Keaton made it out of Freedom Square in Seminole without contracting COVID-19.

“She’s tested negative, negative and she’s not shown any symptoms at all,” her son said.

After paramedics removed her from the facility hit hard by an outbreak, she spent more than a week in a hospital bed before moving into the Suncoast Hospice Mid-Pinellas Care Center.

“There’s nothing in this place that’s going to harm her and they take really good care of her and we are just truly thankful,” Keaton said.

He is especially grateful to finally see his mom for the first time in more than a month.

“She’s a strong woman and it’s just amazing that we can still see her laying in that bed and not in a coffin,” he said.

At AdventHealth North Pinellas, the President and CEO Jason Dunkel said preparation for a potential surge paid off. Nine COVID-19 patients arrived last week following the outbreak at St. Mark Village in Palm Harbor.

“Three weeks ago, we had conversations about, OK, if the surge doesn’t happen the way we think from the general population we believe that it will come from nursing homes,” Dunkel said during an interview through Zoom.

Dunkel said each patient will stay on the third floor that has been converted into a COVID-19 unit until two negatives tests for the virus.

“It takes a little bit of time to get these patients out of the hospital and placed in the right facility,” he said.

Now that his mom is in the right facility, Keaton will cherish this moment in time.

“Thank god for 8 On Your Side,” Keaton said. “I appreciate it. Definitely. I don’t think she’d be where she is if you guys didn’t do what you did, you helped us. Thank you.”

Keaton said he appreciated 8 On Your Side’s efforts in covering the Freedom Square outbreak and pressuring the state to start naming nursing homes and assisted living facilities with clusters of COVID-19 cases.

Still needing to recover his mom’s belongings from Freedom Square, Keaton said he’d mainly like to get her wheelchair so hopefully, a visit soon can be outside.


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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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