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DeSantis lifts visitation restrictions for long-term care facilities

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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(WCJB) - Visitors are now allowed back at long-term care facilities in Florida, after Governor Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions on visitation guidelines Tuesday.

The new rules will allow loved ones to visit by appointment only. Visitors will also have to wear personal protective equipment and have their temperature checked.

Residents can designate up to five visitors on their list but only two visitors can be there at the same time.

DeSantis fought back tears as he spoke in Jacksonville about cutting off visitation to those living in the facilities during the first month of the pandemic.

“Many of the folks understand that they have loved ones who are in the last stage of their life. They’re not demanding a medical miracle. They’re not, uh, having unrealistic expectations. They just would like to be able to say goodbye or to, to hug somebody,” DeSantis said.

The new rules still place a restriction on visitation by minors but the governor said that could change soon.

One caregiver, a woman who took a job as a dishwasher in order to see her husband in a long-term care facility, is credited with inspiring the new rules. She says it will be an unforgettable moment when patients see their loved ones again.

“It’s going to be as if the days hadn’t happened because that first hug and that first conversation and rubbing their back and holding their hand, um, will take away the pain that we’ve all been suffering for these last 175 days,” said Mary Daniel.

The facilities cannot allow visitors unless 14 days pass without a new case in residents or staff members. The only exception is for essential caregivers who assist with daily activities and compassionate caregivers who help patients cope with the end of life.

Facilities aren’t required to test visitors, but can if they want to.

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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