Single case of COVID-19 at Hillsborough County assisted-living facility a relief for local family

Hillsborough County

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is getting answers for a concerned daughter who wanted to know more about the confirmed COVID-19 case where her mom lives after the Florida Department of Health named the Hillsborough County facility Saturday evening.

Angie Roher, executive director of Freedom Plaza, said the only positive test results is from an employee who has not been at work for three weeks.

“One of our employees reported to us that they did not feel well on March 30. As per our protocol, the employee was tested. On April 3, the test result came back as positive and the employee has not been back to campus since March 30, the last day worked. This is the only positive test result of an employee or resident thus far at Freedom Plaza,” Roher wrote in her email to 8 On Your Side.

That information is a huge relief for Kayla Parlin. She found out the facility had a positive case after seeing this post on the WFLA Facebook Page.

“Immediately in my mind, I’m thinking, oh my gosh there’s gonna be so many people in this nursing home that are sick,” Parlin said. “That my mother can get sick.”

Parlin said her 60-year-old mother, who is blind and has other medical issues, moved into the assisted living facility in December.

“She knows about COVID, but she doesn’t know the extent,” Parlin said.

On Friday, Parlin said she dropped off a check and a care package for her mom not knowing about the positive case from early April.

“Wouldn’t let me in the facility,” she said. “Everybody that I saw had on a face mask.”

8 On Your Side has learned there has not been an outbreak at Freedom Plaza like at the evacuated rehabilitation facility at Freedom Square of Seminole. At least three residents from there have died and 39 have tested positive for coronavirus to go along with 19 employees.

Parlin told 8 On Your Side Governor Ron DeSantis should have directed the Department of Health to publish the list of nursing homes and long-term care facilities sooner.

“What if you guys didn’t find out this information,” Parlin said, “what if these families didn’t know. There are still a lot of families I’m sure still don’t know.”

Although tough for her and her family, Parlin said Freedom Plaza is taking steps to protect the retirement community from coronavirus.

“It breaks my heart that there’s times I get off the phone with her and I cry because I’m unable to physically touch her or physically be there with her,” she said.

Parlin points out her mother’s blindness is possibly why her family didn’t learn about the COVID-19 case until she saw 8 On Your Side’s Facebook post.

“As part of our internal communication efforts, a letter sharing the positive COVID-19 test result was shared with residents and employees on April 3,” Roher wrote in her email.

There are 56 nursing home and long-term care facilities in Tampa Bay with positive COVID-19 cases. Here’s the full list from the Florida Department of Health.


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