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Suwannee County Health and Rehabilitation Center defends COVID-19 response

Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 17:45:22-04

SUWANNEE COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Suwannee County Health and Rehabilitation Center is defending their response to a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, saying that they taking the "false accusations seriously."

In a statement facility administrator Raven Jackson sent to ABC 27, the center stated that they have been working with the Florida Department of Health since the beginning of the global pandemic and are "very proud of our associates and our reputation in the community."

They say visitors and staff have been getting screened since March 5 in order to prevent the virus from entering the center.

Officials say they've since discovered that two asymptomatic staff members who passed all the screens likely unknowingly brought the virus inside the center while serving patients.

Since those individuals tested positive for COVID-19, Jackson said that they have been removed from the schedule and will not return back to work until they have been medically cleared.

In a recent press conference, Gov. DeSantis announced that a strike team had been sent to the center to help provide support to the patients.

Jackson said that the team was comprised of four nurses who screened and tested patients at the center.

"The 'strike team' told the building that they were doing an excellent job and complimented the processes we had voluntarily implemented, and left without any further recommendations," Jackson wrote in the statement.

In addition, Jackson said the center has received visits from state surveyors and the local health department in the past two weeks. During those visits, she said the facility was "praised and no deficiencies were noted."

Lastly, Jackson stressed that the facility also conducts daily temperature checks and monitoring for all residents to identify early symptoms of the virus in order to treat and isolate any possible cases.

She also called any allegations that people's jobs were being threatened false.

"Our Center and our staff are doing great work during these challenging times and it is extremely disappointing to hear false and hurtful statements reported," Jackson wrote.

Last week, Gov.DeSantis stated that 51 people at the facility had tested positive for coronavirus. Of those who tested positive, he said 30 of them were employees at the facility.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Suwannee County has reported 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19.