Florida lifts nursing home restrictions as state reports 5,190 COVID-19 cases

State allows for visitation with fully vaccinated residents

(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) (Alvaro Barrientos, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida has seen more than 2 million cases of COVID-19. Now, a year past the pandemic, the state has decided to roll back nursing home restrictions originally meant to protect vulnerable residents from the virus.

The state initially put a temporary pause on nursing home and long-term care facility visitors to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. State leaders later loosened restrictions, including an October order that allowed residents to leave facilities to spend time with family and friends for the holidays.

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In December, long-term care facility and nursing home residents and staff were at the top of the priority list for vaccinations, receiving some of the first doses allocated to the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis emphasized that Florida’s vaccination plans would put seniors first.

An executive order from the Florida Department of Emergency Management signed on Monday discontinued the state’s previous four orders, advising the nursing home industry to abide by recently issued federal guidelines that allow visitors to touch fully vaccinated residents.

The order addresses long-term care facilities, nursing homes, group homes, developmental disability centers and foster care facilities and waves previous state statutes that limited visitation and visitor contact.

[MORE COVERAGE: Florida rescinds nursing home visitation orders]

“To ensure the continued safety of individuals in care, every facility shall, at a minimum, maintain visitation and infection control policies in accordance with all state and federal laws and shall continue to monitor all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance,” the order reads.

The Florida Department of Health has been keeping track of the virus within the state’s 523 long-term care facilities. The FDOH’s recent report shows a drop in cases among residents and staff over the last month.

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Find the state-run COVID-19 dashboard below:

Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on March 24.

Cases

The Florida Department of Health reported 5,190 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the state’s overall total to 2,021,656 cases since the virus was first detected on March 1, 2020.

Deaths

Florida reported 31 new virus-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 33,480 This number includes the 630 non-residents who died in Florida.

Hospitalizations

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were currently 2,882 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Since last March, 84,006 people have been hospitalized in Florida after complications from COVID-19. That number includes the 202 new patients who have been recently hospitalized due to the virus, according to the health department’s daily report released on Wednesday.

Positivity rate

The percent of positive results was 6% Tuesday out of 86,446 tests. The numbers reported daily by the state reflect test results from the day prior. Health officials say the rate should remain between 5% and 10% to prove a community has a hold of the virus and is curbing infections.

Vaccinations

The Florida Department of Health began releasing a daily report in December on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.

FDOH reports 2,853,667 people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These individuals either received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine or completed a two-shot series.

As of Wednesday, 5,205,239 people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Below is the county-by-county breakdown of new cases as of Wednesday.

CountyCasesNew CasesHospitalizationsNew hospitalizationsDeathsNew deaths
Brevard36,5481102,14867922
Flagler6,503373510930
Lake26,1991071,35875920
Marion28,732551,9137910-1
Orange121,1733782,552181,169-1
Osceola38,9681251,33814730
Polk60,1151244,687181,2210
Seminole29,2701051,18424501
Sumter8,6448254332430
Volusia37,1032161,90787002

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