South Florida nursing home became ‘fertile ground’ for coronavirus, inspection reveals

Fair Havens Center has over 120 COVID-19 cases and proper measures weren’t taken to prevent spread, state agency says

Fair Havens Center in Miami Springs has been slapped with an emergency moratorium on admissions by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. The facility has at least 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

MIAMI SPRINGS, Fla. – A nursing home with at least 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been slapped with an emergency moratorium on admissions after Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration said the facility created “fertile ground for the virus to spread within the population.”

Dozens of residents of the Fair Havens Center in Miami Springs were loaded into ambulances Sunday and taken to a hospital. Eight residents have died from COVID-19, according to the health department.

Documents obtained by Local 10 News detail an inspection that happened on Thursday. They describe some shocking conditions, including finding that 11 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 were placed in two bedrooms with residents who were not positive for the virus. And “at least 15 COVID-19 negative residents were exposed to COVID-19 ... because of it,” the report says.

The inspection also identified issues in a space designated as an “isolation” area, saying lunch trays for residents in that area weren’t identified as potentially contaminated and were placed with the non-COVID resident trays for cleaning. The same went for laundry, with positive residents’ clothes being mixed in with those who didn’t have the virus.

On Sunday, Local 10 cameras watched dozens of residents transported from Fair Havens to Hialeah Hospital.

The 128 people from the facility who tested positive for COVID-19, according to state numbers from Friday, include 90 residents and 38 employees. Not all have been transferred to hospitals, but at least 32 of the ill residents have been.

Transferring assisted living facility residents with coronavirus to hospitals is the latest effort the state is undertaking as a way to slow down the spread.

“You have a number of individuals who are in semi-private rooms, so it is incredibly difficult to prevent the spread,” said Mary Mayhew, the secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. "Which is why we have been partnering with hospitals in the counties to support timely transfers out of these facilities so two cases do not become 20, or five become 50.”

The AHCA also issued emergency rules Sunday saying that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must grant access to the state’s health department or their authorized representatives“for the purpose of infection prevention and control, including mandated COVID-19 testing of both on-duty and offduty staff.”

Read the full report from the Agency for Health Care Administration below:

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.