Sixth and seventh COVID-19 deaths tied to Seminole nursing home outbreak

Two men, 75 and 84, died this week as the retirement community reported more positive cases.
Ambulances line the entrance before the remaining 39 residents are evacuated from Freedom Square of Seminole on Friday. Two more nursing home residents have died of coronavirus, bringing the death toll to seven.
Ambulances line the entrance before the remaining 39 residents are evacuated from Freedom Square of Seminole on Friday. Two more nursing home residents have died of coronavirus, bringing the death toll to seven. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published April 23, 2020|Updated May 15, 2020

SEMINOLE — Two more residents of the Freedom Square of Seminole retirement community died of the coronavirus this week.

A total of seven people have now died after contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, while living at Seminole Pavilion Rehabilitation, a nursing home facility on Freedom Square’s campus.

Donald Jack, 75, died Tuesday at Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg, according to the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’s Office.

Christopher Pugh, 84, died late Wednesday at Suncoast Hospice Care Center North Pinellas.

Both tested positive for COVID-19 while they were residents at Seminole Pavilion Rehabilitation, then were moved to local hospitals.

Related: Fifth death tied to Seminole nursing home; residents test positive in other buildings

Their deaths were reported amid mounting scrutiny of how Freedom Square’s management has handled the virus since the coronavirus outbreak became public knowledge last week.

Residents were evacuated from the nursing home facility on Friday, and seven more residents tested positive this week in the community’s other buildings, according to a memo obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. At least 54 residents and 33 employees have tested positive. Results are pending for 287 other employees.

The National Guard is expected to arrive in Pinellas County on Friday to test residents and employees at skilled-nursing centers around the county.

Related: Pinellas nursing home evacuated after outbreak; 3 dead from coronavirus

Jack was taken to Northside on Friday for treatment of flu-like symptoms, including pneumonia, according to the medical examiner’s report. His health steadily declined until he died Tuesday. He tested positive for the virus twice, once at the nursing home, and again at the hospital. He had a history of lymphoma, diabetes and hypertension.

Pugh was transferred from the nursing home to Largo Medical Center on April 13 for treatment of respiratory distress and brain damage, according to the Medical Examiner’s reports. Eight days later, he was moved to hospice care. His health history included dementia, hypertension and cardiomyopathy.

Pugh also tested positive while living at the nursing home.

Related: Thirteen employees at Seminole nursing home test positive for COVID-19

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that Donald Jack was 75. An earlier version was incorrect on his age.

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