Florida’s health administrators over the weekend released detailed information about new coronavirus deaths at elder care facilities around the state, after more than a month of refusing to address the issue.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration released the information after several news organizations filed suit under the state’s public records law to force the release of the data.
The document reveals that one in three coronavirus deaths in Florida have occurred at 152 of the state’s long-term care facilities.
As of Friday, the state counted 1,314 deaths. Of those, 423 were in senior-care facilities, which includes both staff and resident deaths.
Additionally, nearly half of the deaths in elder care facilities were right here in South Florida.
However, the nursing homes that have suffered the greatest losses in the state are Braden River Rehabilitation Center in Bradenton, Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center in Live Oak, and Seminole Pavilion Rehabilitation and Nursing Services in Seminole.
All three of those centers have reported 13 resident deaths and one staff member death, according to Friday’s release.
The facility with the highest number of reported deaths in South Florida is Miami Jewish Health Systems, a 438-bed elder care facility. According to the state, eight residents have died there.
Faced with more than 20,000 coronavirus-related deaths and counting, the nation’s nursing homes are trying to preempt a potential flood of lawsuits by lobbying states to grant them emergency protection from claims of inadequate care.
At least 15 states have already enacted laws or governors’ orders that provide nursing homes and long-term care facilities with some level of protection from lawsuits arising from the COVID-19 crisis.