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Sick residents of Grand Villa of Largo return home

LARGO — The eight residents evacuated from a Largo assisted living facility Sunday after showing flu-like symptoms were returning to the home Monday, according to an administrator.

Jeannine Mallory, spokeswoman for the Pinellas County Health Department, could not confirm if the residents removed from Grand Villa of Largo had the flu because testing had not been completed.

"We are just waiting for test results," Mallory said. "But at this time of year, in places where people gather, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, we do see diarrheal illness and stuff like that."

Mallory said nothing "out of the ordinary" was found at Grand Villa Monday. "No one else has gotten sick that we've been told," she said.

The department's investigation could take at least a week, Mallory said.

Monique Spruill, the facility's administrator, said she believes the incident has been blown out of proportion.

"We understand that it seemed like an outbreak of some sort," she said. "But that's not the case. We had two residents who had flu-like symptoms. Everything else was precautionary. The air is clean. The facility is very, very clean."

Largo Fire and Rescue was called to the facility at 750 Starkey Road Sunday at 7:47 a.m. Spruill said EMS was summoned out of concern for one resident, who had flu symptoms. But once EMS arrived at the facility, an employee told them everyone in the lockdown memory unit had diarrhea several days ago.

Those comments resulted in eight patients and a staff member being taken to Suncoast Hospital in Largo and Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater. Hazardous material units from Largo and St. Petersburg checked Grand Villa's air quality. Those tests yielded negative results.

The staffer taken to the hospital was released the same day, Spruill said. The other residents were kept overnight for observation and were returning to the facility Monday. As of Monday afternoon, four residents had returned.

The moment emergency workers left the unit, it was thoroughly cleaned, facility officials said.

Spruill said there was also another resident sent to the Veterans Administration Hospital with flu symptoms Saturday but returned with no change in his medicine, she said.

Grand Villa of Largo is owned by Senior Management Advisors Inc., which is based in Largo.

The facility had three complaint investigations in 2007 but no deficiencies were found and the complaints were unsubstantiated, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

During Grand Villa of Largo's last licensure review in November 2007, a few problems were noted, including medication being improperly stored and a staff member failing to properly watch a patient consuming medicine. None related to the facility's cleanliness. In January, the deficiencies were corrected, according to the agency.

"Our No. 1 concern is the safety of the residents, and the facility is cooperating and working closely with the local county health department," Fernando R. Senra, spokesman for the agency.

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

Sick residents of Grand Villa of Largo return home 04/21/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:40am]
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