Florida Announces Ban on Nursing Home Visits Will Be Lifted

FILE- In this July 17, 2020, file photo, Frances Reaves, in car, pays a visit to her friend Margaret Choinacki, foreground, 87, who has no other family members left because her husband and daughter have died, at Miami Jewish Health in Miami. Floridians will soon be allowed to visit loved ones in nursing homes after nearly six months of vulnerable seniors being cut off from family as Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, that facilities could start a partial reopening. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that he will lift the state’s ban on visiting nursing homes that has cut off vulnerable seniors from family since mid-March over fears of spreading the new coronavirus.

DeSantis said he would lift the ban in an executive order later Tuesday, following recommendations from a nursing home task force that has met in recent weeks.

The task force recommends that homes allow family members to visit their loved ones no more than two at a time, and that they wear protective gear including masks. Facilities would need to go 14 days without any new cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents to allow the visits.

More than half of Florida facilities — 62% have not had a new onset case since Aug. 11, said Mary Mayhew, head of the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, who led the task force.

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