LIVE OAK — An additional confirmed case of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Suwannee County was announced Thursday afternoon by the Florida Department of Health, raising the county’s total to 130 known cases.
The newest case involves a 36-year-old male and is not connected to an existing case. The health department data also shows the case is not travel related.
There have been 609 tests returned negative from Suwannee County samples with one test result pending, per the health department.
According to the state, 423 of the state’s 1,268 deaths in positive patients were staff or residents at long-term care facilities. That includes all 14 of Suwannee County’s deaths.
In data released by the state, Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center has 106 staff or residents that have tested positive: 47 staff members and 59 residents, 32 of which have been transferred out of the facility.
The outbreak at Suwannee Health led county officials to request additional assistance from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office.
At Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, Chairman Len Stapleton expressed his displeasure with the lack of a response from the state. Stapleton said there had been no word back from the state.
“I’m disappointed in him, I’m disappointed in his staff,” Stapleton said of DeSantis. “I didn’t need a call from him. I didn’t need him to come see me. He has enough people working over there that could have reached out to us.
“To say I’m mad is an understatement. We deserve better representation.”
Despite the lack of a response from the governor’s office, Don Hale — the board’s vice chairman — told the rest of the board that a teleconference call was set up for Tuesday afternoon with state officials, including a member of DeSantis’ staff, through the work of Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Chuck Brannon.
Hale said Wednesday that the call was a productive one and included members of the Florida Department of Health as well as the Agency for Health Care Administration.
From that meeting, a team that includes a doctor, nurses and CNAs was scheduled to be at the facility starting Thursday. Hale said they are expected to provide additional “boots on the ground” to help the staff at the facility.
In addition to Suwannee Health, there have been positive tests in staff members at both Dacier Manor and the Good Samaritan Center at the Advent Christian Village. Dacier Manor, the village’s assisted living facility, has also had one resident test positive after mass testing was conducted at both facilities.
ACV President and CEO Craig Carter said the resident was unrelated to the staff member at the facility with the staff member last working April 14 and the resident not returning to Dacier Manor from rehab until April 22.
Most of the results from that round of testing have not yet been returned.
Hamilton County still has six confirmed cases with one case in Lafayette County. There have been 152 tests returned negative from Hamilton County with one result pending. Lafayette County has had 75 negative test results.
Statewide, there were 33,690 known cases of the virus as of Thursday morning with 5,589 hospitalizations in positive patients — 32 in Suwannee County.