TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Senate Pandemic Committee was updated by the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Health Care Association on the situation at long term care facilities on Thursday.
Lawmakers were told 97% of nursing home residents and 98% of staff are currently COVID-free and that nearly all facilities have either received or are scheduled to receive their first dose of vaccine.
Between 70 and 80% of residents are taking the vaccine, while just 40 percent of staff have been willing to accept it.
Emmett Reed, Executive Director of the Florida Health Care Association said a critical issue facing facilities are increased costs from the pandemic compounded with a 15% decline in residents.
“If we don’t start to see occupancy increase over the next six or seven months, maybe even less, you’re going to start seeing nursing homes in a very dire situation financially. It’s just, the margins are razor-thin,” said Reed.
Reed also praised the decisions made by Gov. Ron DeSantis early on in the pandemic like locking down long-term care facilities and requiring a negative test for residents to be returned to nursing homes, saying the actions saved thousands of lives.