Health department reports COVID outbreak at Ocoee facility

A total of 66 residents and 30 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at Ocoee Health Care Center.

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Close to 100 residents and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at Ocoee Health Care Center, a long-term care and rehabilitation center at 1556 Maguire Road in Ocoee.

Dr. Raul Pino, with the Florida Department of Health-Orange County, made the announcement during a press conference held by Orange County Thursday, July 23.

Pino called it a significant outbreak; 66 residents tested positive — and 22 of those were hospitalized — and 30 staff members were positive as well.

“We have … concerns about the number of people who are hospitalized, the number of residents, we don’t know the total volume of the facility, what is their case load,” Pino said. “We continue to monitor. We will use the same approach as we do the other facilities that had an outbreak. And this is not the only outbreak we have in long-term facilities. Remember, outbreaks are defined by two cases or more. And long-term facilities are typically more aggressive — one person is considered an outbreak.”

Winter Garden resident Rob Haught’s cousin has been a resident of Ocoee Health Care since 2018. Ellen Silva, who is in her 70s, tested positive for the virus Friday afternoon and as of Monday did not require hospitalization. Haught said the family has had no issues with Silva’s care. So far, none of her caregivers has tested positive, he said.

No deaths had been reported at the time of the news conference, but a later television news report featured a woman whose 92-year-old grandmother contracted the coronavirus two weeks ago and was taken to the hospital, where she died.

Pino said the first positive test was reported June 25 and the facility and DOH-Orange conducted tests on the entire population July 2. Additional testing was done July 11, and it was from this test that the outbreak was discovered.

“We have been watching this place,” he said.

Orange County has nearly 200 long-term facilities, and Pino said several have been looked at more closely.

“All facilities are monitored in one form or another,” he said. “But we always have a short list of a few facilities that we are concerned about due to infection-control practice we noticed that may not be up to snuff. … This was on that list.”

Assessment and education teams, infection-control officials and other healthcare officials have visited the facility, he said.

Pino said residents and staff will continue to be tested every two weeks by the state health department.

The administration at Ocoee Health Care Center directed phone calls to its corporate office. The following statement was released:

“We appreciate your interest to report on the current COVID-19 activity at Ocoee Healthcare Center, however, this continues to be a very fluid situation. We are continuing to work closely with local, state and federal agencies to deal with this ever-changing situation. At this point, all residents and active staff members have been tested for the virus. Ocoee Health Care’s dedicated health care professionals have implemented protocols to isolate those residents and staff that have tested positive for the virus from the general population. The facility has dedicated various wings of the facility solely to treat the COVID-positive residents, implemented extensive cleaning procedures and contained the remaining residents in their rooms. The facility has been in contact with resident family members to apprise them of the situation. 

“Ocoee Health Care Center is proud of their dedicated staff and their efforts to halt the progress of this virus and would like to express our deepest sympathies to those families or residents lost and affected by the virus at Ocoee Health Care Center. Ocoee Health Care, in coordination with state and federal officials, will continue to fight for the health and safety of our residents and staff during these trying times.”



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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