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New information released from the Florida Department of Health shows Manor Pines Convalescent Center at 1701 NE 26th St. in Wilton Manors as being a hot spot for the coronavirus. 

The report shows 65 people at the nursing facility have tested positive for COVID-19. That number includes 39 residents and 26 staff members. Eleven residents who tested positive have been transferred out of the facility. Two have died.

Ralph A. Marrinson, president of Marrinson Group, though does not believe these numbers are out of the ordinary.

“It is not a high infection rate,” Marrinson said. “It’s an accurate infection rate, because we tested everybody.”

Marrinson attributed the seemingly high number of cases at Manor Pines to the fact every staff member and resident has been tested.

“Ninety percent have no symptoms,” he stressed. 

Marrinson said other facilities may be only testing residents and staff members who exhibit symptoms.

While there have been numerous reports of delays in testing, and a lack of testing, that hasn’t been the case for Marrinson and Manor Pines.

“We found a lab and that had an adequate amount of tests. They’ve provided excellent service and we are thrilled with them,” said Marrinson, whose company operates five senior-care homes in Florida.

Why did Marrinson decide to test everybody?

“Because I have to take care of people,” he said. “How am I going to find out if we don’t test? Isn’t that common sense?”

Marrinson said he will continue testing his residents and staff members.

Wilton Manors City Commissioner Gary Resnick noted many nursing homes are facing similar situations throughout the country.

“It is very sad that COVID-19 is devastating the elderly in nursing homes,” Resnick said. “Unfortunately when nursing home staff and relatives who visit get sick, they may not even know it, and spread the virus throughout nursing homes.”

Manor Pines, which is licensed for 206 beds, has reported the largest number of cases in Broward County and the second-highest number in South Florida.

“There are some nursing homes where nearly all the staff has the virus,” Resnick said. “As in prisons, once the virus gets in a facility, it’s very hard to stop the spread.”

Marrinson said the two residents who tested positive for the virus and died, had other chronic conditions.

Marrinson said he’s “absolutely” proud of how his facility has handled the coronavirus crisis.

“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.”

He noted it may be another 4 to 6 weeks before things begin to go back to normal.  

“This is why we must stay home, practice social distancing and not open up the state on an arbitrary date; it has to be based on science,” Commissioner Resnick said. “ We’re not only protecting our own lives, we’re protecting those in nursing homes and everyone else we may come across.”

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