Task force on reopening long-term care facilities submits proposal to allow visitors

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Credit: Pixabay

If you haven’t seen your grandma or loved one in a nursing home in a long time, that’s about to change.

After millions were forced to spend months apart, a plan is now close to reopen the doors safely to visitors.

Skye Newell makes no bone about it — she’s a daddy’s girl.

“My dad is the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off of his back,” she said, and a hug if you needed one, and Newell needs one. She’s gone months without touching her pops, Keith Broussard.

“It’s been really hard that I haven’t been able to see him. It’s been really hard that I can only talk on the phone,” she said.

Broussard lives at the Life Care Center of Punta Gorda. He’s got diabetes and cerebral palsy. Now, Newell has hope that another hug is not far off.

The task force is working to carefully reopen Florida’s long term care facilities to visitors. It finalized its recommendations today, despite the continued risk of COVID-19 spreading.

“If it gets into a facility, one individual, it doesn’t necessarily stay contained,” said Florida Surgeon General, Dr. Scott A. Rivkees, M.D.

The task force believes each resident should be allowed up to two caretakers. Only they can touch their loved ones.

“I would not want to be the reason that my family member or any other family members at the nursing home gets sick,” Rivkees said.

And if a nursing home is COVID-19-free for 14 days, the facility could allow up to five adult visitors. PPE is an absolute must, but testing is not.

Newell said she’d happily agree to those conditions. “If they can do it safely, then I’d be happy to do that.”

We don’t know when the task force will present plans to the governor, but he must sign off before visitation can begin.

WATCH: Click HERE to watch the meeting via The Florida Channel.

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