Nine Okeechobee Health Care Facility residents test positive for COVID-19, according to email sent to families

OKEECHOBEE – While the Florida Department of Health website showed no positive COVID-19 cases among the residents at Okeechobee Health Care Facility (OHCF) on July 11, an email sent to residents’ families tells a different story.

The FDOH report, last updated July 10 at 5:46 p.m., lists Okeechobee Health Care Facility with zero residents currently COVID-19 positive, three residents who tested positive and were transferred to other facilities and no staff members currently positive.

However, an email sent Friday, July 10 at 1:58 p.m. from OHCF to families of residents states:

“As you know, this past Monday a team arrived at our facility to test all residents. Out of the 158 residents tested, one test was rejected and nine were positive for COVID-19. All positive residents are contained in our quarantine unit, and two of the nine have since been discharged to hospital due to other issues, leaving seven positive cases housed on the unit. The Department of Health is in our facility today, retesting all residents on the quarantine unit.

“The families of positive residents have been notified via phone, therefore if you did not receive a call, your family member is negative.

“Also in this past week, one staff member tested positive, taking our total number of positive staff to 12. All of these employees are off the schedule and following DOH and CDC guidelines. The second mandatory testing of all staff members is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, July 15, 2020.”

The FDOH county report indicates that since testing began in March, 29 COVID-19 positives have been related to longterm care facilities in Okeechobee County. This number includes both residents and staff.

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