Southern Oaks Care Center is committed to providing excellent care, and the safety of our residents and staff is our highest priority. We have taken every precaution recommended by the CDC, by our state and federal regulators – the Agency for Health Care Administration and CMS – and by the department of health. We’ve restricted all non-essential visitors, we’ve asked non-essential employees to work from home and we screen anyone who enters the building, including taking their temperatures. Our staff has been donning masks, gloves, and gowns per guidelines, we have strong infection control protocols in place – including educating staff on how to identify signs of the virus and interact with residents to ensure everyone’s safety – and have the personal protective equipment needed to protect both our residents and staff.
As our residents’ care and safety are always our highest priority, last week in an abundance of caution Southern Oaks tested all residents, whether they had symptoms or not. This was done so the center could make important clinical decisions about any residents who test positive and take the steps necessary to prevent the virus from spreading. At this time, we have 94 patients who have tested positive, but none are showing any respiratory symptoms or fever. Many who tested positive will be retested later this week and we expect some of those results to start coming back negative. Of those who have tested positive in April, only 6 required transfer to the hospital. Of those 6, one remains in the hospital and 2 have returned to Southern Oaks.
We’re saddened to report that three residents passed away at the hospital and one resident passed here at our care center. While it’s unconfirmed whether other chronic health issues besides COVID-19 contributed, we still mourn for the loss of our residents, because every one of them is part of our family. Our thoughts are with their loved ones, along with all the families of the residents under our care. We know this is a challenging time for them, and we have and will continue to stay in regular communication with residents and their families. We’re making multiple phone calls to families and will be sending weekly email updates as long as necessary.
Southern Oaks has also welcomed the assistance of the Department of Health and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, with both agencies having representatives in our care center to support our team. They have been complimentary about our staff and our procedures, and we will continue working with them and following their guidelines, along with those of the CDC, as resident safety remains our priority.
Southern Oaks is committed to providing excellent care to our residents and is proud to be rated 4 out of 5 stars by Medicare, to be a recipient of the American Health Care Association National Silver Award for quality and accredited by Joint Commission. The staff at Southern Oaks have gone above and beyond the call of duty and are heroes in this crisis, risking themselves to serve those who are most in need. Our care center will continue to make the safety of our residents and staff a priority, today and every day, and are thankful to the Pensacola community for their support.