FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Family members of an elderly man who recently died at an assisted living facility in Fort Lauderdale were originally told he did not test positive for the novel coronavirus but now say they have been told he actually did.
During the past week, three people have died at the Atria Willow Wood Senior Living and Memory Care facility, and Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis previously said only one death was a patient who tested positive for COVID-19.
“What the investigation has found out is that construction workers, staff and cooks who were ill were not screened,” DeSantis said Friday. “They were allowed to go work their jobs and mix with the residents unimpeded. That’s exactly what you are not supposed to do.”
Officials have confirmed there have been seven positive tests of the virus that have come from the Fort Lauderdale assisted living facility.
Family members identified the man who died overnight Tuesday as a result from complications from the virus as Richard Curren.
“So many of us are just in shock because he has this way of always bouncing back, always recovering from whatever it was,” Tracy Wieder, Curren’s daughter, said.
DeSantis said, “I think the fear with the one test, the death in Broward, was that it was potentially transmitted by someone who was asymptomatic and who was working on the staff. This is a 77-year-old male who had significant underlying medical problems.”
On Thursday night, family members of a 93-year-old man who had died at the facility said Florida Department of Health officials called them and said he tested positive for the virus as well.
The Florida Department of Health released updated numbers on the total number of COVID-19 cases on Friday morning, which included a newly reported death, totaling the amount in the state to nine.
The 93-year-old who allegedly tested positive for COVID-19 would make him Broward County’s second death from the virus.
Throughout the week, 7News cameras captured Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews transporting several patients away from the facility to be tested after displaying symptoms of the virus.
An elderly woman could be seen walking out of her apartment with a paramedic in full hazmat gear, Friday afternoon. She was led into the back of an ambulance and transported away from the facility.
Rescue crews have not confirmed if her transport is due to showing symptoms of the virus.
Fort Lauderdale Police also confirmed to 7News that one of their officers who responded to the facility on Tuesday has since self-quarantined.
The officer will stay isolated for 14 days after possibly coming in contact with Curren.
The center houses 220 residents, who have been isolated from each other since Tuesday.
7News has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment but have yet to hear back.
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