19 nursing homes in Florida could have coronavirus cases, state investigating

State health officials are investigating after learning there are either suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 19 nursing homes across Florida.

"Right now, it's just a gamble. Everybody’s taking a guess at where it could be. I think people should know, but not to scare everybody and hurt business," manager Robert Hodgson said to health care professionals in different facilities through Granny Nannies. "We are seeing more increased requests for residents to go to their home."

Teams of experts are being sent to all 19 nursing homes, but officials are not saying where the affected nursing homes are located because of patient privacy.

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The news comes after Governor Ron DeSantis banned all visitation from nursing homes and assisted living facilities for the next 30 days. Florida's healthcare administration secretary saying nursing homes are isolating people who test positive for the virus in order to care for them and protect other residents and staff. The state is also working to get more tests for people presenting symptoms at the hospital.

Since nursing home residents are not allowed to have visitors for the next 30 days, health care professionals like Granny Nannies are getting called to check on loved ones. Diane Sanders of Granny Nannies told FOX 35 News that "they go into every home suspecting that there’s some type of virus that could be contagious. So it doesn’t matter if you have it or not. They’re gonna do the same precautions as if you did have it."

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Florida has changed the way long-term facilities and hospitals care for the older population to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"Our temperature's checked every morning and we have a form that we have to fill out," 77-year-old Helen Kivett said. She lives in an Orlando senior living home. "I do have somebody that helps me from time to time and she can’t come in and that’s okay, we’re making do. We’re just all hoping for the best and hoping it will be for a short period."

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While Helen says her friends are staying calm, for others, it hasn’t been easy. She said that "the anxiety level has definitely risen. It’s at the point where it’s on everybody’s mind."

Officials say they are working on setting up a statewide hotline so nursing homes can report suspected cases more quickly.