State nursing homes approach COVID-19 testing deadline

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

There is a big deadline approaching Florida, as 700 nursing homes statewide must test all of their workers and residents for the coronavirus by Friday. And it looks like it’ll go right down to the wire.

We visited ManorCare in East Naples Monday, where we spoke to a woman who says her mom, who lives at ManorCare, tested positive for COVID-19.

“It was very scary when they called and told me she tested positive,” Judy Durbin told WINK News.

But Durbin’s 92-year-old mom is now a coronavirus survivor.

“She had a fever for a couple days and nothing in her lungs, nothing forever,” Durbin said. “She’s over it; she’s done; she’s healthy again.”

However, Durbin says waiting for the nursing home to clear her mom from the COVID-19 ward was both nerve wracking and difficult.

“She had to have two negatives,” Durbin said. “And the problem was they would test her, and she would get a negative. But then the people didn’t come back to test for a week or two, and that wouldn’t count.”

And ManorCare is just one of more than 700 facilities across the state that are expected to test all residents and workers by Friday.

As of last week, state officials say 112,000 people living and working in Florida’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities still have been tested.

“I think that’s an awful, awful lot with all the testing that’s been increased now,” Durbin said. “So that does surprise me.”

It’s also surprising to Diane Harden, whose mother lives in a nursing home..

”My mom is in a nursing home,” Harden said. “She’s 92.”

Harden wonders if Florida Department of Health will be able to complete all the testing by its original goal Friday.

“Those people go home to their families and young children and their spouses,” Harden said. “And, if they don’t know what the condition is in the nursing home, that’s just not acceptable.”

Meanwhile, those who have loved ones in nursing homes hope for better times.

”I would really love to visit my mother in person, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen anytime soon,” Harden said.

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