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DeSantis considering nursing home visits as Florida death toll rises


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives an update on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference at Florida’s Turnpike Turkey Lake Service Plaza, in Orlando, Friday, July 10, 2020. DeSantis made the visit to announce an increase in electric vehicle charging stations that will be available at turnpike plazas by year’s end. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis is thinking of relaxing his assisted living facility visitation ban even as Florida’s death count from the coronavirus has spiked to a new height with 191 reported fatalities.

DeSantis made his comments after a discussion with doctors at an Orlando hospital on Tuesday. He 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.”

The total number of coronavirus deaths in Florida more than 6,100, according to the latest report from the health department’s website.

Data shows Florida reported an additional 9,230 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 441,977.

Statistics show the number of patients treated in hospitals statewide for the coronavirus was steady over the past 24 hours at just over 9,000. That’s down from about 9,500 a week ago.

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.

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