DeSantis maintains criticism of Fort Lauderdale senior living facility

Latest: 3 deaths, 7 positive COVID-19 tests and results pending on 5 others

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis maintains that what happened at the Atria Willow Wood facility in Fort Lauderdale is an example of what not to do.

His latest comments came Sunday morning outside Hard Rock Stadium, where drive-thru COVID-19 testing has just begun.

"The facility did not follow any of the regulations," DeSantis said. "The construction staff, the food service, the regular staff. They were coming in when they were sick and they were allowed to enter these facilities."

Three people have died at the facility after contracting COVID-19.

Why are public health officials being so secretive about what is happening at Atria Willow Wood?

At last check, seven residents who have tested positive are currently at an area hospital.

Four have tested negative, and results are still pending on five others.

The facility’s administrators deny the governor’s claim, telling Local 10 News they’ve been testing people for weeks.

"Since March 16th, the Department of Health has been on-site several times to review our plans and has been supportive of our response and protocols," said Mike Gentry, Senior Vice President of Care at Atria Willow Wood. "We continue to work closely with state and local authorities and continue to follow their recommendations, as well as those from the CDC."

Paul Davis, a company that specializes in disinfecting buildings, was inside the facility on Sunday.

“This particular product requires no wiping,” said Gordon Berken with Paul Davis Restoration. “Our people will not be touching anything.”

In the meantime, DeSantis said Sunday that there is someone from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) embedded inside the facility.

He said it should have never come to this, and has a message to other senior facilities that will be held accountable.

“You have a special responsibility to take care of those people in your stead,” DeSantis said.

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