Tampa Bay area man concerned about nursing home protocols amid COVID-19 outbreak


TAMPA (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area man says he wants to pull his elderly and frail father out of his Polk County nursing home. Elvis Ortiz’ anxiety level is going through the roof as the Coronavirus pandemic grows.

According to public health officials, the elderly and those with preexisting conditions are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.  

“My dad has a delicate health condition,” said Mr. Ortiz. “He has stage four lymphoma…diabetes…a couple of heart attacks.”

Mr. Ortiz turned to 8 On Your Side to find out what’s being done to protect his 76-year-old dad, Angel. 

“We need to have some information in regards of what’s going on inside,” said Mr. Ortiz. 

Loved ones say Angel checked into the Oak Haven Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Auburndale approximately three weeks ago.  

As of Friday evening, Angel was still living at the facility.  But Mr. Ortiz says, that won’t last long if he doesn’t get information. 

“I want to discharge him,” he said. “I want to take him home because of this situation.”

As the pandemic turns into a national emergency, Ortiz has questions about the facilities’ COVID-19 protocol. 

He wants to know about the staff’s training.  Plus, the exact steps they’ll follow if anyone displays Coronavirus symptoms. 

Ortiz says his family isn’t getting answers from staff and now the facility is restricting visitors, per Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Emergency Order.

8 On Your Side called the nursing home to get answers.

“All we want to know is what protocol is in place to protect patients,’ said Investigative Reporter Mahsa Saeidi.

We were repeatedly told the facility had no comment.

Right now, public health experts tell us, if a nursing home resident shows COVID-19 symptoms, they would immediately be taken to the hospital or put into complete isolation.  

It is critically important to protect other residents from any contagious illness.

Ortiz says he would be comforted by that procedure if he heard it from staff members. 

8 On Your Side reached out to the Florida Department of Health to ask about specific protocol if a resident exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.

We haven’t heard back as of late Friday evening. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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