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1 coronavirus-related death confirmed in Fort Lauderdale; test results pending for 2 others

Social distancing encouraged at all open businesses

5 firefighters, 1 officer quarantined after COVID-19 patient's death in Fort Lauderdale
5 firefighters, 1 officer quarantined after COVID-19 patient's death in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Three deaths have been reported this week at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said Tuesday at a news conference.

A 77-year-old man, identified by relatives as Richard Curren, died at Atria Willow Wood, at 2855 W. Commercial Blvd. He had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Test results are pending for the other two individuals.

“Sad news. My dad, Richard Curren, died last night, from a respiratory infection connected to COVID-19,” Curren’s son, Erik Curren, wrote on Facebook. “He lived near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and was 77 years old. He leaves behind my mother, his wife of 57 years. No matter how many joint replacement surgeries he endured, he still couldn’t resist a chance to get down on the carpet to play with a toddler.”

Richard Curren died at Atria Willow Wood’s main building, which houses assisted living residents. The campus also has a Memory Care in a separate building.

Below is a statement from Mike Gentry, Senior Vice President of Care at Atria Senior Living.

“The health and well-being of Atria residents and employees is our first priority. On March 16, we received news of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Atria Willow Wood. This resident had been in the hospital since March 6. Sadly, the resident has since passed away. As of today, there have been four other residents at the hospital being tested for COVID-19. We have received confirmation that one of these tests is negative and we await results of the remaining tests.

"We have been in communication with the Broward County Department of Health and the CDC. The Department of Health was on site earlier today to review the control measures we have in place and confirmed that we are taking the appropriate steps. We are working closely with them as well as the CDC to monitor the situation and take additional steps to mitigate any potential spread. Our experienced staff remains onsite and has implemented additional quarantine protocols.

"Our primary concern right now is supporting our residents and staff. We will provide updates as they become available.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered all bars and nightclubs to close at 5 p.m.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said he has ordered that all city restaurants shut down immediately for dining-in patrons and remain closed for the next 30 days.

He said the city is allowing takeout, drive-through and delivery services to resume.

Other gathering spots, like gyms, theaters, dance halls and video arcades have also been ordered shut.

Gatherings with more than 10 people are forbidden.

Critical businesses will not be affected, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and auto repair businesses.

Trantalis said social distancing should be practiced at all open businesses.


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