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FL Governor’s Holiday Order Creates “Right Conditions for Perfect Pandemic Storm” in Nursing Homes

by FAMILIES FOR BETTER CARE | November 23, 2020

Governor DeSantis announced last month that nursing home and assisted living residents are permitted to leave facilities and visit their loved ones over the holidays.

Families for Better Care believes the governor’s well-intentioned order is dangerously misguided.  

Governor DeSantis’s new nursing home holiday policy creates the right conditions for a perfect pandemic storm to brew in nursing homes. 
BRIAN LEE, FFBC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

 “Governor DeSantis’s new nursing home holiday policy—along with the recent spike of coronavirus infections across the peninsula and no new safety measures being implemented to protect residents—creates the right conditions for a perfect pandemic storm to brew in nursing homes,” said Brian Lee, Families for Better Care’s executive director.  “The unfortunate reality for residents and their caregivers is that’s already happening.”

Lee speaks of the most recent surge of COVID19 cases in Florida’s long-term care facilities.  Cases have jumped nearly 75 percent since the beginning of the month.  While not as high as the number of infections in nursing homes over the summer, cases have steadily climbed over the past few weeks.  

As residents decide to leave under the governor’s new policy, the risk of infection for residents and staff is much, much higher upon their return.  Facility staff are instructed to screen returning residents, but the governor’s order stops short of compulsory testing.

Families for Better Care is deeply troubled that by not requiring molecular rapid testing at the door limits a facility's ability to contain the virus.  Governor DeSantis should help nursing homes and assisted living facilities by deploying molecular rapid testing machines and kits to every facility and require testing for everyone until this crisis is abated.

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