Prepping for hurricane offers new challenges for nursing homes during coronavirus pandemic

Sonata Senior Living ready to evacuate is needed

ORLANDO, Fla. – With the threat of Hurricane Isaias approaching Florida’s coast, a Central Florida senior living community said it’s been a challenge revising time-tested plans to incorporate protocols for COVID-19.

Bryce Robinson is the Senior Regional Director of Operations for Sonata Senior Living, in Orlando, and said they’ve initiated Phase I of their Emergency Preparedness Plan.

"This is where we start preparing for the worst, but we're still hopeful for the best," said Robinson.

Officials with Sonata Senior Living said their Emergency Preparedness Plan now includes having personal protective equipment at the ready, and preparations for keeping residents socially distant.

Robinson said they have personal protective equipment for all residents and staff, and said it’s packed and ready in the event of an evacuation.

Robinson said they’ve also had to double their transportation to maintain social distance between residents.

With the pandemic, Robinson said, some families have expressed that they'd be more comfortable picking up their loved ones and taking them home, in the event of an evacuation.

However, he said there are protocols in place for when those residents return to their senior living communities.

Upon return, the residents will be immediately tested for COVID-19 and will isolate in their apartments, until they receive negative test results.

At a news conference Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said 100% of the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities have working generators on site.

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