National Guard shifts gears, not coming to Port Charlotte veteran nursing home today

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte, Florida.

The National Guard was supposed to be coming to Charlotte County veterans nursing home today, but as of this afternoon, the Guard is no longer coming – at least not today.

The county confirmed around noon the National Guard was expected to make its first stop at the Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ Nursing Home in Port Charlotte. But about an hour later, we found out the strike team was reassigned.

More than one-third of people with coronavirus in Charlotte County live or work at a long-term care facility.

In some cases, the undiagnosed are spreading the virus.

Charlotte County Communications Manager Brian Gleason said, “We’ve been getting clusters of those facilities as you know, so we’re just trying to stem the tide.”

A strike team of four National Guard members was set to begin virus testing at the county’s five long-term care facilities with positive cases – with one in Port Charlotte.

But the team was reassigned this afternoon.

So Charlotte has to wait longer for the much-needed help with testing.

Kristen Knapp, the director of communications for the Florida Healthcare Association, said,  “Universal testing is extremely important to us, so we’re welcoming the National Guard coming in.”

The goal for Charlotte County is goal is to have 100% testing in all of the care homes.

The Florida Department of Health in Charlotte will continue to test at local senior-living facilities as needed, so they can track down cases, to protect others.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Gleason added, “just going to stop the spread of the virus.”

Charlotte County says the National Guard didn’t share details on its new assignment, and it’s unclear when the strike team will be there to start testing.

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