Former employee speaks out against Suwannee Health & Rehab

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 9:52 PM EDT
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By: Amber Spradley | WCTV Eyewitness News

April 13, 2020

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WCTV) -- A healthcare worker quit her job at a local nursing home, Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center, March 30 due to working conditions at the beginning of an internal COVID-19 outbreak.

Brandy Kinsey worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She threw in the towel just days after learning two people at the facility tested positive.

She felt managers were not taking proper precautions.

She says when she sent a text asking to stay home for a few days, her boss wrote back saying she can't get COVID-19 just by working with those who have it.

"I know a couple people that have told them they were going to get tested, and they tried to convince them not to get tested because they needed people to come in," Kinsey said.

According to Kinsey, the center is under-staffed and now trying to cover a big problem.

"They were saying if they have a temperature of higher than 100 to not put it in the computer and report it up," she said.

67 cases of coronavirus were reported in Suwannee County on Monday, more than doubling from 31 last Monday.

Governor Ron DeSantis sent a strike team to the facility over the weekend to investigate where he says the county's COVID-19 outbreak started.

Administrators of Suwannee Health and Rehabilitation Center and its corporate office in Pensacola, Gulf Coast Health Care, refuse to comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include links to our latest stories on this issue. WCTV reached out to Suwannee Health and Rehab both in person and over the phone on April 6. Both times, our reporter was told the facility would not be commenting on the story. The facility declined to comment when WCTV called again on April 9. Our reporter also called a Gulf Coast Health Care spokesperson on April 9, and they did not comment either. The reporter texted the same spokesperson on April 14, but there was no response. WCTV reached out to the Florida Department of Health via email for more information on April 12 and 15. Officials connected to Suwannee Health and Rehab were forwarded the messages; however, they did not respond.
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