Days after the state reported 16 residents of a local nursing home had died of COVID-19, all of the remaining residents who tested positive were transferred out of the facility Sunday. 

“Nursing homes were simply not prepared for this virus,” said Wilton Manors City Commissioner Gary Resnick.

According to WSVN 55 residents of Manor Pines Convalescent Center in Wilton Manors were transferred to local area hospitals.

“Manor Pines nursing home in Wilton Manors has been extremely hard hit,” Resnick said.

Those relocated residents include all 48 who have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as seven others who previously tested positive, but have since tested negative. 

“It was frightening to get a telephone call advising me that ambulance after ambulance was arriving at Manor Pines and transporting patients away,” said Wilton Manors City Commissioner Julie Carson. “I was relieved to know that in an effort to reduce occupancy at the Facility, the Health Department decided to relocate patients.”

According to Wilton Manors City Commissioner Paul Rolli, the city has been closely monitoring the situation at Manor Pines. He said the Florida Department of Health, and the State's Agency for Health Care Administration, which regulates and licenses Assisted Living Facilities, has been working closely with Manor Pines and both agencies have conducted multiple site visits.

“Additionally, Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, our contractual agency, has been visiting and communicating with Manor Pines staff to review operating plans and concerns,” Rolli said. “That team has been providing updates regularly to city staff.”

Two weeks ago when the state released the number of COVID-19 infections at the facility, at the time 65, SFGN interviewed Ralph Marrinson, president of the Marrinson Group, which operates Manor Pines and seven other senior care facilities in Florida and South Carolina.

Marrinson told SFGN at the time he was “absolutely” proud of how his facility had handled the coronavirus crisis up to that point.

“The Health Department and other agencies have been here. They said everything is perfect. They have full confidence that we are doing everything correctly,” he said. “When you try to do the right things, for the right reasons, things work out. We are all tired. It’s been a long 4 to 6 weeks.”

As for the high infection rate he attributed it to his facility’s high testing rate.

“It is not a high infection rate,” Marrinson said. “It’s an accurate infection rate, because we tested everybody.” He added, “Ninety percent have no symptoms.”

At that time only three residents had died, all of them after being taken to a hospital.

Marrinson added that he decided to make sure everyone at the home got tested “because I have to take care of people. How am I going to find out if we don’t test? Isn’t that common sense?”

More recently, but before the transfers took place Sunday, Marrison stressed to the Sun Sentinel his facility was on top of the crisis.

“We’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing. We’ve tested everybody. I just don’t know what more to say. It’s a worldwide situation. I just can’t wait till it’s over,” he told the Sentinel. “We have two units that are completely isolated, and we have specific staff in each unit to make sure we don’t have any cross-contamination. Like the nurses in the hospitals, all of our nurses and aides and everyone else are heroes.”

As for the seemingly high death rate, in a statement to NBC6, the facility appeared to attribute the deaths to the underlying conditions each of the victims were suffering from.

"Manor Pines began testing all residents and staff in early April, whether they had symptoms or not. We’ve conducted over 900 tests, which is the reason our facility has been reporting a high number of residents testing positive for COVID-19 … We’re saddened to confirm that 13 residents passed away at the hospital and three residents passed here at our care center, all due to chronic health issues contributing to their COVID-19 symptoms. Our dedicated caregivers at Manor Pines mourn for the loss of those residents, because every one of them is part of our family.”

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