Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo assisted-living center's tests are inconclusive

LARGO — Results were inconclusive from tests performed by the Pinellas County Health Department at a Largo assisted-living facility, where nine people thought to have flu-like symptoms were evacuated Sunday.

"More than likely it could have been a virus,'' said Jeannine Mallory, spokeswoman for the health department.

Mallory said only two of the people transported from Grand Villa to local hospitals were actually sick. All have returned to the facility.

Monique Spruill, the facility's administrator, was relieved at the Health Department's test results, but was clearly irritated by the media attention.

"It was embarrassing, it was ridiculous," she said. "It was very ugly."

Spruill also questioned the decision by Largo Fire Rescue to remove so many residents from the home when they weren't ill.

"We are waiting for EMS to tell us how they determined (that) the other seven residents had to go to the ER,'' she said.

Rescue workers were called to the facility at 750 Starkey Road on Sunday morning by employees who said they needed help for a resident who was complaining of illness.

The rescuers set up a triage area in the care center and assessed the elderly who have Alzheimer's disease and live in the memory unit.

Eight residents and one staff member were taken to area hospitals.

The staff member was immediately discharged; the others stayed overnight for observation.

Shelby Willis, chief of Largo Fire Rescue's medical services division, said the staff at Grand Villa requested that the residents be taken to the hospital for treatment and evaluation, "and that's exactly what we did.''

She said if a patient has Alzheimer's and is not alert, rescuers are required to follow the wishes of the individual's health care provider.

Ernie Bach, who lives in the Forestbrook community next to Grand Villa, said he wished the tests had revealed more.

Bach, chairman of the Forestbrook Advisory Council, rushed to the assisted-living facility Sunday when he saw a hazmat vehicle and other emergency trucks at the scene.

He said Forestbrook residents feared there was an outbreak of a serious illness and wondered whether it could be Legionnaires' disease.

He said at least one resident packed up and fled to the beach for the day, then called him hours later to find out if it was safe to return.

"The way things are carried around in this world today," Bach said, "illness travels quickly."

Eileen Schulte can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

Largo assisted-living center's tests are inconclusive 04/26/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 26, 2008 4:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Despite Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough remains on pace to unlock hotel tax that could pay for Rays ballpark


    TAMPA — Despite the threat of a catastrophic storm, it was business as usual at many Hillsborough County hotels in the days before Hurricane Irma bore down on the Tampa Bay region.

    The Grand Hyatt near TIA closed during Hurricane Irma, but many other Hillsborough hotels were open and saw an influx.
  2. Pinellas votes 7-0 to help sue Legislature over new law favoring charter schools


    LARGO — They said they had no choice but to do it. They said they would rather reach a compromise.

    Gov. Rick Scott, right, kicks off the 2017 legislative session on March 7 in Tallahassee. Scott later signed a massive education bill that is being challenged by several school districts. On Tuesday, Pinellas became one of them. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Deputies find 24 dogs, 2 birds, 2 cats, 1 child in Hernando home

    Public Safety

    SPRING HILL —A woman was arrested Monday on charges of animal cruelty after deputies said they found injured animals at her Spring Hill home.

    Jennie Card, 44, was arrested on two counts of animal cruelty after deputies said they found her injured animals at her Spring Hill residence.[Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
  4. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors


    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  5. Joe Maddon on being back at Trop, Cash, a new stadium


    More to come later, but a couple of quick early highlights from former Rays manager Joe Maddon's return to the Trop with the Cubs:

    Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.