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21 Pinellas Park nursing home residents with COVID-19 evacuated overnight

Paramedics were moving the residents to local hospitals late Wednesday after they tested positive for the deadly virus.
Sunstar paramedics, wearing personal protective suits and masks, worked late into Wednesday night to move 21 residents of Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park who tested positive for COVID-19 to local hospitals.
Sunstar paramedics, wearing personal protective suits and masks, worked late into Wednesday night to move 21 residents of Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park who tested positive for COVID-19 to local hospitals. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published May 13, 2020|Updated May 14, 2020

PINELLAS PARK — The COVID-19 outbreak at Gulf Shore Care Center continues to worsen as paramedics started moving 21 more nursing home residents who tested positive to local hospitals on Wednesday night.

The transfer came 48 hours after paramedics moved five other residents to hospitals. Two employees have also tested positive, according to state records.

There were 28 confirmed cases at the facility as of Wednesday.

By 11:30 p.m. that night, paramedics in yellow suits and masks were still transporting patients.

Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton sent an email to county commissioners at 6:44 p.m., saying that 21 additional residents tested positive for COVID-19 at Gulf Shore Rehab at 6767 86th Ave. N in Pinellas Park. "They are being transported to hospitals tonight.”

Related: Pinellas County evacuates 15 coronavirus patients from two nursing homes
Paramedics, wearing personal protective suits and masks, spent Wednesday night moving 21 residents of Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park who tested positive for COVID-19 to local hospitals.
Paramedics, wearing personal protective suits and masks, spent Wednesday night moving 21 residents of Gulf Shore Care Center in Pinellas Park who tested positive for COVID-19 to local hospitals. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Louise Merrick, administrator at Gulf Shore Care Center, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday. After the first cases became public Monday, Merrick issued a statement saying the nursing home “has no additional patients with identified COVID-19 cases," and employees are “working hard to do our best with the limited knowledge that currently exists.”

Monday is when first-responders helped move residents to local hospitals after outbreaks surfaced at Gulf Shore Care Center and St. Petersburg Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at 521 Atwood Ave. N. Five residents were hospitalized from Gulf Shore Center, and 10 were removed from the St. Petersburg nursing home.

Gulf Shore Care Center recorded its first COVID-19 death on Monday.

Evalena Finnman, 78, a resident of Gulf Shore Care Center, was originally transferred to Northside Hospital on May 1, where her condition worsened. There, she tested positive for COVID-19 on May 5.

She was transferred to Suncoast Hospice Care Center, where she died Monday.

The Gulf Shore Care Center at 6767 86th Ave. N in Pinellas Park, where a total of 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed recently.
The Gulf Shore Care Center at 6767 86th Ave. N in Pinellas Park, where a total of 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed recently. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]
Related: Coronavirus cases surpass 42,000 in Florida, as state adds 49 deaths

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