AARP Florida Questions Recommendations for Reopening Sunshine State Elder-Care Facilities to Visitors

Posted on 08/26/20 by Dave Bruns

For Immediate Release:
Aug. 26, 2020

Contact: Dave Bruns, dbruns@aarp.org , 850.228.2759

Recommendations Stop Short of Requiring Quick-Turnaround Testing for Visitors

AARP’s Florida State Director, Jeff Johnson, issued the following statement today on AARP’s concerns about recommendations from a state task force on the reopening of elder-care facilities to visitors:
“AARP has been hearing for months from families of long-term care residents who have been torn between two worries: worry that their loved one would contract the deadly coronavirus and worry that their loved one was suffering emotional, mental and physical decline from the forced isolation mandated by the state’s lockdown order. “

“AARP consistently has said that the path to easing the lockdown of facilities safely lies through quick-turn testing that can provide a level of certainty that staff and visitors are not unknowingly carrying the deadly virus into the facility. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently began sending that type of test kit to facilities for use in testing staff. Why not test visitors as well?”

“The guidance to facilities appears to align with that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts, but it’s not significantly different from the guidance available months ago. Why are these changes being considered now instead of months ago?”

“As of today, some 4,530 Floridians have died from coronavirus infections that began in a long-term care facility. Those deaths represent more than 40 percent of all Florida’s deaths in the pandemic, although residents and staff make up less than 2 percent of the state’s population. These losses have been devastating for the families involved. “

“Again, AARP recognizes this step will be welcomed by those who have seen spouses and parents suffer significantly from the isolation of the last five months. We know that the task force is working to balance the competing needs of residents and facilities and competing worries of family members. It would be further comfort to have answers to our questions.”

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You can find CDC’s latest coronavirus information at cdc.gov/coronavirus; AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.