As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida, 70 people have tested positive for the virus at Jupiter Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.
A June 25 Facebook post from the center said only one transfer resident tested positive for COVID-19. But state records show, as of Monday afternoon, 38 patients and 32 employees have now tested positive.
The center provides services to help get people back on their feet, but never could've imagined dealing with its own set back.
Keith Buttrick's mother, Ann, is a patient inside. He just learned she is asymptomatic, meaning she has the virus, but is showing no symptoms.
“She is pretty much bedridden 100 percent at the facility," he said. "They are one of the first facilities from what I understand to test everybody. I think they’re going to get a lot of positives and a lot of false positives. That’s just the nature of COVID testings.”
The facility has since set up zones to isolate positive cases from healthy patients and staff who tested negative. While some praise the center for stepping up protocols, others say it's not enough. They want to know what's happening inside and many argue they are not getting the answers.
"Choose another facility. If you have a loved one, just keep them home, keep them safe," said one woman who didn't want to be identified.
Debbie Parker, who lives in New York, says her father was in hospice and has since passed away. She describes her experience before the pandemic.
"My experience there was not a hospice one," she said. "I don’t feel that the level of care, I was constantly having to follow up on things."
"I’ve never ever had an issue when I’ve gone there," he said. "Everything’s been clean and [my mother] well cared for."
The center sent the following statement to CBS12 News:
COVID-19 has proven to be incredibly virulent, especially amongst the elderly and immunocompromised populations.
As COVID-19 cases continue to increase across the state of Florida, we have made the joint decision to test all employees, residents, and patients under our care for COVID-19. We expected higher reported numbers of positive cases as a result of testing every single employee, patient, and resident on an ongoing basis.
The health and wellbeing of our patients, residents, and employees is our top priority, which is why we made the bold decision to initiate COVID-19 testing of all patients, residents, and employees to ensure that we could continue to provide the highest level of comprehensive care, even if this meant reporting cumulative cases higher than other skilled nursing providers.
Ongoing testing, tracking, and specialized infection control protocols are the most reliable tools that we have as a healthcare provider to combat and defeat this virus. COVID-19 testing allows our team to identify the population of positive individuals and begin care as swiftly and efficiently as possible to provide the best possible outcomes for recovery.
Our center conducted round 1 of mass testing and results returned as 100% negative for all tested for COVID-19. On June 26th, after completion of round 2, we reported 38 patients and 32 employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Our advanced clinical capabilities here at Jupiter Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center allow us to use our tools and resources to effectively treat and care for our patients in place, minimizing the need for acute care transfers. We have developed zones of care within our center to separate and isolate those who are positive and those who are negative. Staff have been assigned to specific zones to prevent the opportunity for cross-contamination and have been thoroughly educated with the latest, ongoing guidance by the Department of Health and CDC since the beginning of March.
As we have seen, many out in the community who are positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic and are unaware that they are positive, which is why testing is so crucial.
Unfortunately, our state along with 30+ others are seeing a rise in confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, and it is imperative that we treat this virus with the highest standards of attention and competence to ensure that we can stop the spread.
We continue to remain positive and trust the guidance provided by our partners in care as we navigate this historic pandemic, which has focused on the aged and immunocompromised.