TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Governor Ron DeSantis has announced the formation of Florida’s Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities.
Members of the task force will work together to develop guidelines on how to safely allow family members to visit their loved ones in Florida’s long-term care facilities. Florida has banned nursing home visits since mid-March, and barred the return of patients testing positive for the virus to nursing homes that lack an isolation ward.
“The last four and a half months have been difficult for all Floridians, especially our residents in long-term care facilities and their families,” said Governor DeSantis. “In an effort to protect our most vulnerable, we made the difficult decision in March to prohibit visitation to these facilities. While these measures were necessary, it has taken an emotional toll on our families. I look forward to the ideas that arise from this task force on how we can continue our mission to protect the vulnerable while allowing for the much-needed human connection of spending time with family and friends.”
Back in July, DeSantis had said there are rapid tests that can ensure visitors are not infected with the virus and loneliness is one of the costs of the virus.
“It’ll be a 15 minute test. If you have the ability to do that, then I think that we need to start to talk about visitation again,” DeSantis said. “I really, really worry about the toll that the isolation has had on people in long-term care facilities.”
Data shows Florida reported an additional 7,650 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 510,389.