Nevada & Colorado identify COVID-19 nursing homes – but not Florida

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An outbreak at a Pinellas County nursing home has families across the Tampa Bay area concerned.

8 On Your Side has learned more states are starting to release the names of infected nursing homes but not Florida.

Dramatic video shows the site of a COVID-19 outbreak at Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion. 8 On Your Side crews captured potentially sick patients being removed one by one.

As we watch this tragedy unfold in Pinellas County, viewers, like Roberta Stowe, want to know one thing: The names of long-term care facilities with outbreaks.

“I don’t want to find out that my mother dies from coronavirus,” said Stowe.

8 On Your Side has learned states like Nevada and Colorado post this information online.

But in Florida, these records are secret.

“Do they answer your specific questions about coronavirus?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

“No, they just tell me they can’t tell us anything about it,” said Stowe.

8 On Your Side spoke with a patient at a different Assisted Living facility in Tampa. The 74-year-old didn’t want to release her identity out of fear of retribution.

The woman called us as first responders rolled passed her window. She says she has no clue if she’s at risk.

“There’s almost 600 people that live here, we have a right to know.”

Charlene Harrington, Ph.D. RN is a Professor of Nursing University of California San Francisco.

“Everyone has a right to know where the virus is,” said Professor Harrington.

“I think it’s essential to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Professor Harrington has published more than 200 papers on long-term care. She’s studied nursing homes for more than 30 years and testified before the US Senate.

She believes the information is secret primarily to protect the nursing home industry.

“Of course if you have the virus in the facility, then patients might want to leave and new patients are not going to want to come in,” said Professor Harrington.

“The situation is deteriorating rapidly.”

8 On Your Side will continue to press Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Department of Health and Agency for Health Care Administration to release the names of facilities with outbreaks.

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