32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

Did ER tech bring COVID-19 into hospital ER?


If Ginger Burkeen’s husband Brian wasn’t up for sentencing on a felony grand theft conviction for stealing a quarter-million dollars’ worth of tires from the County Fire Department, the public would never have known that COVID-19 had impacted the emergency room staff at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital.

But despite Ginger Burkeen’s positive COVID-19 test now being a matter of public record, we still have no answers nearly a week after the emergency department technician testified before Judge Dan Vaughn that she’d tested positive for the virus after developing symptoms.

We have no clear assurances from the hospital that all people exposed have been contacted, isolated and tested.

We have no explanation of why it took six days for Ginger Burkeen to get a rapid test after Vero Beach 32963 notified the hospital about statements made in court about her having COVID-19 symptoms yet still working in the emergency room.

How many doctors and nurses have been sidelined after working a shift with Burkeen? How many patients who came through the ER were contacted and notified that they may have been exposed? No idea. All we got was a canned statement.

“The safety of our patients and caregivers is the top priority for Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital. As part of that commitment, we have procedures in place designed to minimize exposure to the virus for anyone entering our facilities. That includes mandatory masking for all caregivers and visitors, temperature checks upon entrance and social distancing,” hospital spokesman Scott Samples said.

“We also have an evaluation and testing process for caregivers who are exposed to COVID-19 and experience symptoms or have symptoms with no known exposure to the virus. That includes testing for COVID-19 and isolation at home until test results are returned,” Samples said. “If COVID-positive, caregivers are isolated at home for up to 14 days. Once they are eligible to return, they must work in a non-patient-facing role for one week.

“Our process is to work with the Florida Department of Health to notify patients who may have come into contact with a caregiver who tests positive for COVID-19,” Samples said.

Hospital spokesman Angela Dickens was notified by Vero Beach 32963 by telephone on June 24 that statements were made to the court that Ginger Burkeen had been working in the emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms since June 20.

That call was followed up the same day with an email forwarded to Dickens documenting the claim. The email was from Assistant State Attorney Lev Evans to County Administrator Jason Brown explaining why Brian Burkeen’s sentencing had been postponed.

“The grounds for the motion were that Brian Burkeen’s wife, Ginger Burkeen, had a cough and runny nose,” Evans wrote. “Ginger has had these symptoms since Sunday and has not been tested for COVID. She continues to work as an ER nurse at a local hospital. Brian Burkeen’s argument is that his wife might have COVID, consequently he might have COVID, too. Neither have been tested.”

On June 29, Vero Beach 32963 asked for a comment from the hospital since they had ample time to investigate. Spokesman Scott Samples declined to comment.

The following day on June 30, Assistant Public Defender Michelle Rhodeback, who represents Brian Burkeen, reported to Evans that Ginger Burkeen had finally been tested – 10 days after her symptoms presented – and was indeed infected.

“Brian called and his wife was tested today. The rapid result came back positive for COVID. I once again will be asking for a continuance, but at this point I think we need to set it out further – at least two weeks as a result of the test results. The rapid results were given over the phone and she is willing to testify to the results,” Rhodeback wrote to Evans.

Then on July 1, Ginger Burkeen testified by telephone before Judge Dan Vaughn about her positive test.

“Last week I started to feel sick. I tested positive yesterday,” Ginger Burkeen said. “I feel worse. I received the test from Cleveland Clinic. I work at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital.”

We don’t know which days or shifts Burkeen may have worked in the emergency room or how many patients she interacted with since June 20. How many hospital employees may have been exposed from having just one case of COVID-19 in an ER tech is another important unknown. We pressed the hospital repeatedly for details, but this information is private.

Vectors of transmission are not disclosed by the Florida Department of Health due to privacy concerns and the hospital does not release information on personnel matters.