Nursing homes complying with state’s ban on visitation
Nursing homes around Palatka are restricting visitors from entering for 60 days due to coronavirus and to comply with an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Issued March 9, the order stated “Florida statutes for the particular purpose of prohibiting certain individuals from visiting facilities” will be enacted. “For purposes of this order, a facility includes nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities, and adult group homes,” the order stated.
Solaris Healthcare, 110 Kay Larkin Drive, has signs on its doors stating visitors and non-essential personnel cannot enter “any skilled nursing facility.”
“Only cases where the resident is declared to be at ‘end of life’ will in-person visits be permitted,” a sign stated.
A sign advised people to reach out to their loved ones via phone, social media or other internet platforms.
“We feel the preemptive approach of prohibiting certain individuals from visiting facilities, as defined in the Emergency Order, and in (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidance), places our centers in the best position possible to safeguard the health and well-being of those we serve, as well as protecting the health and safety of our caring teams,” a statement on Solaris’ website said.
Crestwood Nursing Center, 501 S. Palm Ave. in Palatka, is also sticking to the released guidelines and allowing no visitations.
“We’re just adhering to the state and federal guidelines,” Administrator Stephanie Showers said.
Solaris Healthcare officials are requiring people who have traveled internationally or on a cruise within the past 14 days to keep away from their facilities. People who have a fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing and/or a cough are also supposed to keep away.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nursing homes to “cancel all group activities and communal dining” and to “implement active screening of residents and (health care personnel) for fever and respiratory symptoms.”
“Given their congregate nature and residents served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions), nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19,” according to the CDC website.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus and the CDC recommends keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between people to avoid becoming sick.
There are currently no positive cases of the virus in Putnam County, and Mary Garcia, administrator for the state Department of Health in Putnam County, recommends self-isolation.
“Social isolation ‘lowers the curve’ and does not overtax our hospitals and first responders,” Garcia said. “Thank you for your efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. Thank you for using your best judgment in your daily activities and limit social contact.”