Four test positive for COVID-19 virus at Lakeside at Amelia Island

  • A generic photo of a sample COVID-19 test.
    A generic photo of a sample COVID-19 test.

The Lakeside at Amelia Island retirement community, which includes dementia care, assisted living, and independent living for its residents, received four positive results from recent “community-wide COVID-19 testing.” The testing took place last week, according to an email sent to residents, families and staff.

One resident and three staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which can cause a disease called COVID-19.

“I am pleased to report that of the 165 residents tested, 164 tested negative. And of the 117 staff members tested, 114 tested negative, the May 21 email from Executive Director Melissa Sloper says. The resident who tested positive stays in the “independent living neighborhood.”

“We have already spoken with the resident’s family and the resident has been placed in isolation for the next 14 days. The staff members will not return to work until they are cleared based on CDC guidelines for health care workers,” Sloper continues.

“Even with these test results, please be assured that we continue to monitor all residents and staff members for illness and symptoms. If there are concerning conditions or symptoms to share about your loved one, someone on our team will contact you directly.

“We have protective supplies in the community, such as masks and gloves, that help prevent the spread of illness, and our staff has been trained on when and how to use them. Our housekeeping and maintenance teams continue to clean and disinfect all common areas and resident apartments.”

Families of those staying there also received a voicemail message outlining how the facilities will be cleaned.

“Additionally, we have contracted with a professional cleaning company with experience in viral cleaning to perform a complete sanitization procedure of all common areas using an EPA-approved viral disinfectant. This cleaning process will take place (May 22),” Sloper’s email says

She thanked the staff for “working tirelessly to keep everyone taken care of and in good spirits.”

A telephone number for residents and their families to call was included for any questions and concerns.

“Florida Senior Living is under the Executive Order restricting all visitors, communal dining, and group activities. We have multiple governing agencies visit our community throughout the week to ensure that we are in full compliance with all CDC guidelines,” referring to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We will make you aware of any changes to the restrictions as they are made available to us,” Sloper added.

A resident in the independent living section of the facility who did not want to be identified told the News-Leader the 100 or so people staying in that section are covered by the same rules as those in the assisted living units. “They can confine you to your apartment if you go out without permission,” the man said. “They won’t let you go anywhere.”

A message left for Sloper asking for more information was not immediately returned, but a member of the communications team from The Arbor Company, the Atlanta, Ga., operator of the property, said he would take questions and return answers as soon as possible.

Judd Harper, president of The Arbor Company, issued the following statement in response to the enquiry from the News-Leader: “The health, safety and well-being of our residents and staff continue to be our top priority. As such, we tested all Lakeside at Amelia Island residents and staff last week and we have plans to test them again. We will communicate directly with residents and staff about the timing of the next test once confirmed. Guidelines for Independent Living residents are currently the same as they are for Assisted Living residents – this was done to ensure the safety and health of all our residents and in accordance with CDC and local health officials. We are currently reviewing all our guidelines and look forward to sharing Independent Living and Assisted Living updates over the next week or so.

“We are incredibly thankful for our residents’ and families’ patience and support over the last two months. Our Lakeside at Amelia Island team has worked very hard to ensure our residents are safe and well cared-for.”

A Florida Department of Health preparedness list for nursing home, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities can be read here: