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Naples woman tests positive for COVID-19 shortly before release from nursing home

Just as COVID-19 was becoming a real threat to Southwest Florida, Diana Bortle said doctors recommended her mother Shirley be admitted to a nursing home for physical therapy.

On March 19, she said Shirley was admitted to ManorCare Nursing and Rehabilitation on Lakewood Boulevard in Collier County.

“I didn’t even get to go in the facility. I knew nothing about the facility. I was concerned about what they were doing for her,” said Bortle.

A little more than halfway through what was supposed to be a month-long stay, Bortle said the facility contacted her to explain they had a resident test positive for COVID-19. When Shirley’s discharge date came around, Bortle said Manorcare wouldn’t let her take her mother home.

Bortle said, a day later they explained they had to test her for the virus. On April 27, she said results came back positive.

“I just felt it was inevitable. She was in a closed facility, So eventually she was going to get it and she did,” said

According to data obtained from the Florida Department of Health, Manorcare had more positive cases of COVID-19 than any other facility in Collier County as of April 27.

The DOH numbers report that Manorcare had 16 positive residents and six positive staff members. 15 of the positive residents were reported transferred from the facility.

But according to a statement from a Manorcare spokesperson, the facility still has 5 COVID-19 positive patients under airborne droplet isolation in the Naples facility.

Here is the statement in its entirety:

When we first realized that the novel Coronavirus reached the United States earlier this year, we began putting precautions in place such as checking and monitor for symptoms of the novel Coronavirus for all visitors, patients and employees. Then on March 14, we added more precautions such as eliminating group activities and most visitors except for end of life reasons. We also implemented universal masking of our employees.

The Department of Health notified ManorCare Health Services – Naples, a not-for-profit, mission-focused skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, that we have confirmed positive cases of the novel Coronavirus. We know that the frail and elderly are especially susceptible to this virus. That’s why we are in close communication with our local health department, CDC and CMS to ensure we have the latest information and resources available. The health and well-being of our patients and employees remains our top priority.

We have taken significant additional precautions to minimize risk to patients and employees and have had systems and processes in place to help reduce the risks associated with the novel Coronavirus. We have precautionary measures designed to protect the safety and health of patients, employees and authorized visitors. We are:

  • Holding new admissions.
  • Taking regular symptom and temperature checks of all residents. We have reduced our temperature threshold to 99 degrees so we can address any change in condition rapidly.
  • Increased our sanitizing and cleaning processes.
  • Reviewing all inventory for personal protective equipment, such as masks and gowns, and educating staff on proper use and disposal.
  • Working with the Department of Health, CDC and the community to minimize any additional risk.
  • Staying connected with families.
  • Regular updates and in-servicing of our care team.
  • Working with supply chain to ensure we have the appropriate PPE supplies.

Our precaution measures include creating an Airborne Isolation Unit (CAIU) as part of our infection control and treatment plan. This means:

  • We will designate an isolation unit for patients who meet our isolation criteria (higher risk patients).
  • The unit will have barriers installed to protect other residents and employees and keep higher-risk patients in a focused treatment area.
  • We will have personal protective equipment dedicated to this unit.
  • As much as possible, we will have dedicated staff on the unit in CDC-approved Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This means respiratory masks, gowns, face shields or goggles, and gloves.
  • Special cleaning, disposal, laundry, and sanitizing measures will be enforced.

Whether we have a novel Coronavirus positive case, can get tests, are waiting for test results or have patients who may need additional monitoring, we manage the risk at the same level of intensity and commitment by adding enhanced monitoring and screening as well as putting into place isolation practices for patients or quarantine for employees.

We communicate directly with employees, patients and their families if they are affected or if there is a risk of exposure in our facility. This information is constantly changing and for us to report that information publicly may just add concern and fear rather than allay it. We are happy to address any concerns or questions employees, patients and families have directly with them.

We are doing everything we can to minimize risks associated with the novel Coronavirus in our facility. We are in very close communication with our medical director, clinical support team, and local and state health officials about the appropriate steps to serve the best interests of our patients, employees and visitors. We are instructing our staff and patients to follow the recommended preventative actions. We appreciate the Department of Health’s support in identifying and addressing this issue as well. We continue to take every precaution to prevent the spread of the infection and keep families informed.

The center is currently caring for 5 COVID-19 positive patients under airborne droplet isolation.

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