Coronavirus cases spike at Florida assisted living facilities

2 families say they received texts from Tamarac facility asking if loved ones’ funeral arrangements were in order

Facilities in Tamarac and near Miami's airport are among those that have new cases of coronavirus as the outbreak spreads to a vulnerable population.

TAMARAC, Fla. – As of Thursday afternoon, there were 87 positive cases of COVID-19 at assisted living facilities across Florida. A day later, that total has jumped to 143.

And South Florida leads the list.

Nine new cases have been reported at assisted living facilities in Broward County, 12 new cases have been reported at the same type of facilities in Miami-Dade and six new cases have been reported in Palm Beach County.

Administrators are frustrated because residents are isolated, and employees going in and out are checked, but the numbers keep going up.

Among the new cases is the first at HarborChase, an assisted living facility in Tamarac, Local 10 News learned.

There are 106 residents at the facility at 6855 NW 70th Ave, all of whom are in different stages of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia.

Local 10 News has learned loved ones who have residents at the location received a robocall Thursday afternoon letting them know about the situation.

Prior to the robocall, two families told Local 10 they received texts asking if their loved ones’ funeral arraignments were in order.

HarborChase Memory Care in Tamarac. (WPLG)

According to a statement from HarborChase, “No other person, staff or resident, has tested positive for COVID-19.”

“We have consistently followed the safety measures recommended by the CDC, and implemented other measures as well, as directed by our own internal task force,” the statement read.

The facility has been closed to all visitors since March 13.

Local 10 News learned Friday that two residents of Atria Tamarac have tested positive for the virus and are in isolation inside the facility on North University Drive, across the street from Tamarac Elementary School. Those residents were recently in the hospital for unrelated reasons and were tested for COVID-19. Their results came back positive Thursday.

A visiting nurse outside the facility Friday said hadn’t been warned.

Among the new cases in Miami-Dade County were two residents from residential plaza Blue Lagoon in Miami.

They are in the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. The facility near Miami International Airport is massive with 300 residents and 135 employees. As a precautionary measure, staff and residents “at risk by contact” are now in self-isolation.

Administrators in many of these assisted-living facilities have asked the department of health to come in and test all of the residents and employees. That hasn’t happened and doesn’t appear that it will happen. The department of health has told them it is worried about false negatives. People could test negative one day and be positive a day or two later. And they can’t keep coming back week after week to retest.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.