Governor limits visitors to nursing homes, seeking to shield Florida's elderly from COVID-19

Florida is implementing more restrictions on who can visit nursing homes as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the state.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 23 positive cases of coronavirus inside Florida. 21 of those are Florida residents, while two of those are non-Florida residents. There are another five Florida residents with the virus but they tested positive and are isolated in another state. 353 others are being monitored. Two Florida residents have passed away so from COVID-19. They were both elderly patients.

During a news conference that day, Governor Ron DeSantis announced an executive order to protect the elderly of Florida. It will restrict visitors from nursing homes and assisted living facilities for a period of two weeks if they show symptoms of any respiratory infection or are sick, travel internationally, have been aboard a cruise ship, visited an area with community spread of the virus, or live in an area with community spread.

"These are informed efforts to mitigate the risk to our most vulnerable population to COVID-19, which is our elderly population and particularly those who have serious underlying medical conditions," DeSantis said.

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The Governor went on to say that a few of the state's latest cases were tied to a Nile River cruise. In fact, he said that ten of the positive cases in Florida have stemmed from travel along the Nile River and that one of the patients in Florida that passed away was connected to the Nile River.

China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Egypt are CDC areas of concern for coronavirus. However, the Florida Department of Health said that anyone who has traveled internationally should self-isolate for 14 days. In addition, the U.S. State Department is now asking American citizens, especially those with underlying conditions, to not travel on cruise ships.

Governor DeSantis also advised that polling locations inside nursing homes or other living facilities be available to only the residents there, as outside visitors could become a risk. The Volusia County Supervisor of Elections actually already moved one location because it is inside an assisted living facility. The official said that the Good Samaritan Society - Florida Lutheran is limiting those that come into their facility and will no longer be a polling location. They will move to the Wayne G. Sanborn Activities Center for the election.

Governor DeSantis still encourages voting but encourages everyone to stay safe and limit contact.

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The symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms sometimes don’t show for two to 14 days after infection.

To prevent exposure, avoid contact with people who are sick. Health officials advise that you also regularly and effectively wash your hands, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cover sneezes and coughs with tissues, and stay home if you are sick.

If you display coronavirus symptoms, you should contact a local health organization and make them aware of your condition prior to arrival while also following specific instructions or guidelines they may have. It may also be beneficial to wear a face mask prior to an appointment. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 and let them know if you have been infected or believe that you may be.

If you are infected, a medical professional or another authority will likely advise that you remain isolated while sick. This includes staying at home and not going into public places or large events.


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