NAPLES — UPDATE 05/28/2020 - We have learned from the ManorCare website that 34 people at the facility in Naples have tested positive for COVID-19, and 41 are still awaiting test results.
Twelve people have died after testing positive at a Naples nursing home, according to a public records request we filed with the Collier County Medical Examiner.
ManorCare at Lakewood Blvd. said it has now moved 24 people out of the facility who were COVID-negative to protect them from contracting the disease.
Our crew on-scene Wednesday saw staff in full protective gear going in and out of the facility. Many were discarding items, filling up a dumpster outside to the brim. Meanwhile, the entrance to the nursing home was covered in a blue tarp, and a cleaning company could be seen on-site as well.
We reached out to ManorCare Health Services, and the company released the following statement:
Manor Care has been fighting the COVID-19 virus for several weeks and takes the responsibility of caring for our patients very seriously. Even though we have protocols in place to contain the spread of the virus, we are working with multiple government agencies to assist us in focusing on patient care and recovery, employee in-servicing on use on infection control measures and use of protective equipment as well as deep sanitizing of the center. We feel more focus on these areas will help patients recover in a safe environment. While we focus on patient care and the sanitizing of the center and after careful consideration, we have decided it would be in the best interest to move our COVID-19 negative patients out of the center and to one of our other locations (24 patients were moved on Monday and we may move more depending on test results). We realize this a worrisome time for families, but with our precautions in place we can take the necessary steps to ensure everyone’s safety. We are acting out of an abundance of caution and following our emergency evacuation plans and isolation precautions for a smooth transition. We have informed families, our medical director and primary physicians and did assessments once patients moved. We continue to connect with all families, and we appreciate everyone’ patience during this time and our team’s heroic efforts to do everything possible for our patients.
But our public records request showed, the company only took these steps after those 12 people died. We wanted to learn how an outbreak could be this deadly in just a period of two months, so we spoke with Dr. Loureen Downes, with the nurse practitioner program at FGCU.
“The CDC has already identified that the elderly are at much higher risk of dying from COVID-19. As a matter of fact, they cite a statistic of about 26 times more likely to die," said Dr. Downes.
Downes said facilities like ManorCare are at risk, because there may not have proper ventilation, and they often have communal facilities like bathrooms and eating areas. That’s a concern we first heard raised all the way back in March, when Dr. Zubin Pachori from NCH spoke to the Collier County Commission.
“The very first hot spot in the country was in Kirkland, in Washington, which was at a skilled nursing facility. We have about a dozen of those in this county. If one or two of those get it, our ER’s, our ICU’s, our hospitals, are done," said Pachori at the meeting on March 27th.
Dr. Downes said the message from all of this is that we need to still be protecting ourselves.
“It is not gone, and we are at, we need to really be careful and protect each other, maintain social distancing, wear a mask. Those are the two key areas, and maintain our hygiene practices," said Dr. Downes.
ManorCare said it could move even more patients out of the facility in the near future if it finds that the risk of them staying there is too high.