Gov. DeSantis further opens long-term care facilities for visitation


FORT MYERS, Fla. (WESH) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he is lifting more restrictions around visitations at long-term care facilities in the state.

The governor said during a roundtable event in Fort Myers that children will now be allowed to visit long-term care facilities.

DeSantis also said that outdoor visitations will now be allowed regardless of any COVID-19 cases within the facility. He also clarified that social distancing is not required for compassionate caregivers.

The new order from the governor eliminates a five-person maximum number of visitors and requires long-term care facilities to set their own guidelines.

DeSantis said the state will continue to provide rapid tests to facilities and those facilities can choose to use those tests on visitors if they wish.

The governor announced in early September that the state would begin allowing visitations into long-term care facilities again. There had been a ban on nursing home visitation in place since March.

The announcement comes as Florida is reporting about 5,500 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the seven-day average in daily reported cases to about 3,300. That’s an increase of about 1,000 per day since the beginning of the month.

The rates of positive tests also have been ticking upward, with close to 7 percent testing positive in numbers reported Thursday, compared with closer to 5 percent in early October.

Hospitalizations for the disease have remained roughly stable, however, with between 2,000 and 2,200 being treated, according to Florida’s online census of hospital beds. Those figures compare with peaks of close to 10,000 in late July.


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