Consulate Health Care on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Street in Safety Harbor. (Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

Safety Harbor nursing home on Florida COVID-19 list

in news/town square

 A Safety Harbor nursing home is among 307 in the state where patients, residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a list of the facilities released Saturday by state officials. 

Consulate Health Care of Safety Harbor was included on the list released by the Florida Department of Health after Gov. Ron DeSantis reversed a previous position and ordered the release of the names of facilities. The director of Consulate Health Care of Safety Harbor could not reached for comment.

Another facility in Safety Harbor was originally on the list but it was removed Sunday. State officials indicated that listing was an error. 

The list of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities was all that was released. The list did not specify how many cases each facility has had, or whether the victims were staff or residents. It also it did not disclose which facilities have had a death from the virus. 

As of Monday at 5:50 p.m., the Florida Department of Health reported 27,058 positive cases, up 744 since Sunday. The state death toll went up to 823, an increase of 34 since Monday morning.

So far, the state has reported 1,785 cases of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, resulting in 175 deaths. For weeks DeSantis declined to identify the nursing homes and assisted living facilities that were struck by the virus. The Department of Health notes that its data is and subject to change and it represents COVID-19 positive reports in staff and residents from long-term care facilities from March 2, 2020 to date.

 A coalition of Florida newspaper outlets threatened to sue his administration to get the names. At a news conference Saturday, DeSantis said the state was now requiring the facilities to notify relatives of residents about positive corona-virus cases.  

He said that he had not wanted a situation where the families don’t know what is happening. The list includes 25 Pinellas County facilities. Tampa has four and Pasco has two.

Walt spent 35 years as a reporter, feature writer. TV critic and columnist for The Tampa Tribune. Prior to that he worked in the public relations office at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and as a reporter for The Greenville (SC) News. He and his wife, Debbie, have lived in Safety Harbor for 10 years. He also taught media writing courses at the University of Tampa. Since moving here, he has been active with the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center, hosting a monthly storytelling night.