JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During his visit to Jacksonville on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis made it a point to say that while the state is taking steps to reopen, he’s making the decisions with the most vulnerable residents in mind.
The governor said the testing of patients at long-term care facilities will continue, along with the staff at those facilities.
DeSantis announced that beginning Monday, the state will increase restrictions on restaurant and retail store capacity from 25% to 50%, as well as allowing the reopening of museums, libraries and gyms at 50% capacity. Bars and movie theaters will remain closed.
DeSantis called long-term care facilities a big part of Phase 1 as the state begins to reopen. He said problems at the facilities in the past lead to outbreaks in communities across the state, which is why he’s keeping a close eye on their operations.
He said the facilities will continue to prohibit visitation at the facilities and that hospital will be required to test people before releasing them to facilities. He said facilities are required to transfer COVID-19 positive residents if they are not equipped for appropriate care.
“So you’re having transfers out of nursing homes into places that can mitigate or prevent spread, that obviously helps those residents who are still in the nursing home," DeSantis said.
The governor said millions of pieces of personal protective equipment have been sent to long-term care facilities and that teams are conducting tests and screenings for asymptomatic cases.
DeSantis said the increase in testing has helped them identify, isolate and prevent more outbreaks. He said mobile testing will also be introduced to gets results back faster.
“This really needs to be an all hands-on deck approach," DeSantis said. “If we can help keep it out of these facilities, you know, that’s going to be a huge part of winning this battle.”