Mandatory LTC testing
Jim Saunders of The News Service of Florida reports state Agency for Health Care Administration yesterday issued emergency orders to require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to allow the Florida Department of Health into their buildings for infection control and conducting COVID-19 testing of residents and staff. When the department enters the buildings, the nursing homes and assisted-living facilities will need to require staff members to submit to tests.
“To guard against the rapid spread of COVID-19, I am issuing emergency rules for our nursing homes and assisted-living facilities requiring that every facility allow access to the Department of Health or their authorized representative for mandatory testing for all facility staff by the Florida Department of Health during testing visits,” AHCA Secretary Mary Mayhew said in a prepared statement. “These rules will also require every facility to allow access to the Department of Health or their authorized representative for infection prevention and control purposes.”
When the department enters the buildings, the nursing homes and assisted-living facilities will need to require staff members to submit to tests. The AHCA order requires long-term care facilities must also make off-duty staff members available for testing. The orders raise the possibility nursing homes and assisted-living facilities could face license revocations, suspensions or fines for not complying.
For weeks, Inweekly has fought for more testing, particularly in nursing homes. When Ascension Sacred Heart deployed its mobile COVID testing unit to Southern Oaks, the nursing owner management didn’t allow its employees to be tested, even though a member of its staff had died due to the virus. We’ve heard other facilities have been much more cooperative.
Let’s hope a National Guard strike team returns to Southern Oaks asap.
Finally Some Guidelines
The state is taking the reopening of barber shops, hair salons and nail salons much more seriously than it did restaurants.
When the governor allowed restaurants to reopen last week, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Halsey Beshears gave few guidelines and encouraged people “not to overthink” it. Dine-in was limited to 25% of capacity but outdoor seating was unlimited as long as six-foot distancing was maintained.
However, Beshears’ agency was much more specific for barber shops and salons. The mandatory restrictions:
- All customers will be by appointment only.
- Allow at least 15 minutes between the conclusion of an appointment and the beginning of the next appointment for proper disinfecting practices.
- No group appointments are permitted.
- Masks must be worn by all employees while performing personal services.
Guidelines encouraged but not mandatory:
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect prior to reopening.
- Make sure to disinfect all surfaces, tools and linens, even if they were cleaned before you originally closed. This type of cleaning should continue between each day of operation.
- Consider providing unworn masks to clients for use during their appointment.
- Remove all unnecessary, frequently touched items like magazines, newspapers, service menus and any other unnecessary paper products and décor from customer service areas.
It will interesting to see how the state handles the reopening of other businesses, such as theaters, gyms and bars.
Floridians file complaints against non-compliant businesses
Floridians have filed more than 2,200 complaints to the state over the past two months about businesses failing to comply with executive orders that imposed restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. The complaints have dealt with issues such as vacation rental properties, restaurants, sale of alcoholic beverages, barbering and cosmetology.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation spokeswoman Karen Smith said complaints are assigned to specific divisions with the agency but didn’t say if fines have been issued. The department’s online complaint form was posted March 17, the day Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that took steps such as closing bars and nightclubs. The online form requires people filing complaints to list the names of the businesses and the licenses being questioned, when the incidents occurred and if they would like to be contacted regarding the complaints.
Additional executive orders placed further restrictions on businesses before DeSantis began a phased reopening of the economy Monday. That phased reopening, in part, allows retailers and restaurants outside of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to reopen with 25 percent capacity and allows elective medical procedures to be provided statewide.