Most states won't meet White House goal to test all long-term care facilities

Posted at 6:24 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 06:24:22-04

FORT MYERS, Fla.-- Two weeks ago–– the White House urged governors to test everyone who lives or works at nursing homes for COVID-19 within 14 days. However, many states including Florida won't make that goal.

Governor Ron Desantis never made the widespread testing mandatory. Not long after the White House made the announcement, Desantis was in Miami and explained that the state doesn't have the resources to go into every care facility and do the testing.

Desantis has dispatched dozens of National Guard medical teams to facilities for testing, but it isn't enough to cover all of them within the state. As an alternative, he urged long-term care facility workers to use their local drive-though or walk-up testing sites.

Many states claimed lack of time and supplies would make it almost impossible to reach the White House's two week deadline. Medical experts have stressed testing these facilities as a way to drastically slow the spread of the virus. Especially since numbers show those who are older and have underlying medical conditions have been hit the hardest by the virus.

In Southwest Florida, cases at long-term care facilities make up a large portion of positive cases and deaths. As of Monday, numbers from the Florida Department of Health showed long-term care facilities make up 28% of positive cases in Lee County alone.

Page Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Fort Myers has the most positive cases in the county with 41 positive residents and staff members. To put that into perspective–– the agency's numbers showed the facility with the most positive cases in the state is in Broward County with 45 cases.

The Florida Department of Health ranked counties with the most deaths linked to residents and staff workers at long-term care facilities. Lee County was 4th on that list, Charlotte County was ranked 9th, and Collier County was 11th on the list.

Readers can also click here for a breakdown by county of positive case numbers linked to long-term case facilities.