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A local pediatric clinic closed its offices in Homosassa and Ocala after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

According to PedIM office manager Leisa Lanzarone, said its Lecanto office remains open.

The employee is now quarantined and she is recovering, Lanzarone said.  

PedIM stands for Pediatric and Internal Medicine Specialists.

The office manager would not say at which office the employee worked, but described her as a “behind the scenes person … not having contact with patients.”

To try and ensure the safety of patients and employees, Lanzarone said the business tested its other employees who might have had contact with the infected woman and thus far their test results have been negative for the virus.

Asked by the Chronicle whether the infected employee worked at both the Homosassa and Ocala offices and whether that was the reason for the two closings, Lanzarone said no. The move was to consolidate the three office, she said, adding that the Ocala office served both as an internal medicine clinic and as a quick care facility and did not see the amount of patient traffic the other clinics experienced.

Lanzarone wanted to explain to the public and patients that the business and Lecanto facility were doing everything it could to keep patients and employees safe and follow the guidance given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health.

“We’re in the business of taking care of people,” she said.

Lanzarone said the clinic and staff were taking “extreme precautions” such as implementing a telephone answering service to better screen patients, instructing employees who are ill not to come to work, and utilizing a single entrance and exit and separate examination area for patients with flu-like symptoms.

Lanzarone said the employee tested positive for COVID-19 last week and the clinic staff worked through the weekend closing the two locations and reorganizing manpower.

Lanzarone said people are panicking based on what they might be reading on social media websites and that it was important to get the accurate word out about the businesses so patients remain properly informed.   

The closed Ocala office is at 6341 North U.S. 441 and the closed Homosassa office is at 8468 W. Periwinkle Lane.

The DOH in Citrus County said it offers aid in investigating potential contacts between people infected and others and testing. People or businesses needing help can contact their DOH.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 1,412 infected people in Florida. A total of 14,540 people have been tested: 13,127 were negative with one inconclusive. In Citrus County, 87 people were tested, nine were positive and five tests still pending, according to the FDOH coronavirus website.  

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.