DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Walton County now has recorded five deaths from COVID-19, all of which have occurred at a single nursing and rehabilitation facility.
The two latest COVID-19 victims at the Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, reported Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health in Walton County, were a 90-year-old female and an 84-year-old male.
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The serious respiratory illness had previously claimed the lives of a 94-year-old man, a 70-year-old woman, and a 66-year-old man at Chautauqua.
As of Tuesday, according to the Florida Department of Health, a total of 54 people at Chautauqua, divided roughly evenly between residents and staff members, have tested positive for COVID-19.
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The local health department has been working closely with Chautauqua to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the local department noted in a news release.
“Nursing home populations are at a higher risk of being affected by COVID-19 because residents are typically older or disabled adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions,” the news release also noted.
As of Tuesday, there were 91 COVID-19 cases in Walton County, comprising 77 residents and 14 non-residents. That’s an increase of 10 more cases in a 24-hour period compared to the Monday report. In addition to the five deaths, the Walton County COVID-19 cases included 14 hospitalizations.
According to the Florida Department of Health in Walton County, 56 of the 91 COVID-19 cases reported in the county have been from DeFuniak Springs, where Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center is located.
The next highest number of cases, 12, are from Santa Rosa Beach, with four cases reported from Freeport, three in Miramar Beach, and one in Laurel Hill-Paxton. The numbers also include 15 people who were tested in Walton County, but do not live in the county.
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In an emailed response earlier this month to questions about patient deaths at Chatauqua, Ann Wilder, a spokeswoman for Signature HealthCARE, the Kentucky-based company that operates the DeFuniak Springs facility, said, “All residents who have tested positive are being treated in Chautauqua’s separate COVID-19-only unit,” adding that “residents with more severe cases, such as those needing ventilator assistance, are not treated in our COVID-19-only facility. They are treated at one of our partnering hospitals.”
A Tuesday report from the Florida Department of Health indicated that no COVID-19 patients had been transferred out of Chautauqua.