Nursing facility employee tests positive for COVID-19

State Incident Response Team currently onsite

Crystal Health & Rehab Center hasn’t been accepting visitors to keep residents there safe. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

A Crystal Health & Rehab Center employee has tested positive for COVID-19 — the first nursing home in the Keys to come down with a case — according to the Florida Health Department and health officer of the county, Bob Eadie.   

The health department and Eadie said they were informed of the positive case, a speech therapist, late this week. 

Eadie said the department is taking the appropriate actions with staff onsite since Friday investigating and testing. Crystal Health & Rehab Center, located at 48 High Point Rd. in Tavernier, is a skilled nursing center that provides care to residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Short-term and long-term services are offered, as well as rehabilitation. 

“Nursing homes and homes where the elderly are living is a priority under the governor and department of health guidelines for COVID-19,” he said. “We take it very seriously and we’re taking appropriate action to make sure not only the individual, but also the residents at the nursing home are safe.”

There were no reports as of Saturday of any positive COVID-19 cases or related deaths among residents inside the nursing home. Eadie said to confirm tests officially, “they haven’t been there long enough for the test results to come back.”

Eadie said the investigation is being handled by a response team that’s set up by the Florida Health Department. Eadie said it’s a joint investigation with the local health department staff supporting the state’s Incident Response Team, which is made up of employees of emergency medical services. 

“They’re onsite right now,” he said. “We can supply logistics and whatever else we can help them with, and we’re doing that.”

The Weekly reached out to Ruth Robinson, Crystal Health executive director, this morning and is awaiting additional comment. Robinson recently took over the role from Fred Taylor, former executive director.

This story will be updated once more information becomes available.

Jim McCarthy
Jim McCarthy is one of the many who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures in Western New York. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 5-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club. When he's not working, he's busy chasing his son, Lucas, around the house and enjoying time with family.