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Concerns over COVID-19 prompt city to shut down summer camp at the STARS complex

Posted at 3:16 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 22:39:22-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — "All I kept thinking was I could have caught it and it still is not too late."

Kiasha Lee says she's still shocked by her 16-year-old's recent COVID-19 diagnosis.

"I immediately started crying because I just recovered. I'm in remission from cancer," she said.

Lee says her whole family got tested after being notified that one of her daughter's coworkers, at the STARS complex, had the virus.

But Lee claims a similar notification didn't go out for her child.

"They never notified the other staff members that she tested positive. They only found out through Facebook," she said.

It's a story that's eerily similar to one told by Willina Gilmore, the wife of a STARS complex employee.

"Nobody notified the employees, the kids family members, not even the hr department, nobody knew about Greg's case," she said.

Gilmore says her husband started to feel sick a few weekends ago and that they immediately let his supervisors know.

She believes her husband caught the virus at while work.

"That's the problem we're having, we're really upset because COVID-19 is serious. My husband was really sick, he could have died," she said.

We reached out to the city to find out what their notification process is, if someone at the facility tests positive. They say to avoid a HIPAA violation, they leave notifications up to the county health department.

It's an answer that local school board candidate, Curt Sheard, isn't buying.

"I think that's bullshit," he said, "There's no HIPAA violation in letting people know they were exposed."

Both women I spoke to say they want to clear that they are not bashing the complex or the programming it provides to the community, but they do want people to know that there have been cases at the complex.

"My main concern wasn't to bash them, it was to give word out that if my daughter came in contact with you all the stars complex, go get tested."

As a result of recent calls and complaints, the City of Fort Myers has decided to end the summer program at the STARS Complex at the end of the day Friday.

The added that the decision was also due to a concern about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Southwest Florida.

The city said its Step Up To Work summer internship program for high school students would also end on July 17.

Councilman Johnny Streets Jr. says he’s been in contact with city manager who is considering shutting down Stars complex. “It’s something that may happen.” Streets Jr. said.

For more information, please contact the STARS Complex at 239-321-7545.