Nspire Lauderhill nursing home accused of hiding information as virus spreads

LAUDERHILL, FLA. (WSVN) - A dire situation is unfolding at a South Florida nursing home as the coronavirus spreads.

Now, action is being taken there and at other facilities statewide.

More than half of the residents of Nspire Lauderhill have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the state.

Lauderhill Mayor Ken Thurston said the situation there is so serious, the National Guard showed up over the weekend to administer more tests and to try and stop the outbreak.

Jessica Bocanegra, whose grandmother died of the virus, said, “I was upset. I’m sad. I did not get to see her. She died alone.”

Bocanegra’s grandmother, Elsa, had dementia and lived at Nspire Lauderhill.

Within one week of testing positive for COVID-19, she was dead.

Bocanegra said, “I got one FaceTime call granted. That is when I broke down. I saw my grandmother gasping for air. She was gasping for air.”

Fifty-eight of the roughly 100 residents at Nspire Lauderhill have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the state.

Carl Young’s grandmother is one of those residents.

Young said, “You have a large number of families left in the dark. We are not being provided information.”

Just how many patients at Nspire Lauderhill have died?

That depends on who you ask.

On Friday, the state database showed just one death, but after 7News inquired with the Department of Health, it was updated to four.

As of Monday morning, the Broward Medical Examiner said the total dead was now at six.

Thurston said, “As of Thursday, there were eight deaths.”

Thurston said all the residents and staff at Nspire Lauderhill were tested for COVID-19 over the weekend, and the Department of Health has an epidemiology team now working with the facility.

Thurston said, “I’m concerned because on a percentage basis, it is higher than what the other ALFs are experiencing across the city.”

Other South Florida nursing homes are also seeing outbreaks.

Sixteen residents have died from COVID-19 at Manor Pines Convalescent Center in Wilton Manors.

Fair Havens Center in Miami Springs has had eight deaths, according to the state.

On Sunday, the state issued an executive order that said staff and residents at facilities must submit for testing when the Department of Health shows up.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “As we have expanded testing into some of these facilities, you actually have some of the elderly residents who get infected who don’t show symptoms, at least immediately.”

Bocanegra said she’s happy that facilities are doing more testing and hopes nursing homes like Nspire Lauderhill will start being more open with families about what is going on.

Bocanegra said, “You call them, and literally they tell you to call back at 7 p.m. when the nurses are at the nursing station. You don’t know about the care. You don’t know what is going on in there. It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare.”

Nspire Lauderhill has not responded to a request for comment.

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