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Health News Florida
News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida and WUSF can help. Our responsibility at WUSF News is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

State Increasing Coronavirus Testing At Long-Term Care Facilities

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Since mid-March long-term care facilities in Florida have not allowed visitors to enter their buildings. But the number of positive cases there have continued to rise. In response, Governor Ron DeSantis says he’s going to ramp up testing.

“I am directing the Florida National Guard to create more Strike teams to significantly ramp up testing in long-term care facilities," Desantis said. "They have already visited and tested I believe hundreds of residents in South Florida with the National Guard Strike teams, we are going to expand that to 10 teams of four and we’ll probably expand it beyond there as long as we have enough equipment and PPE.”

The strike teams are going to long-term care facilities to randomly test residents and staff regardless of whether they are showing symptoms. DeSantis believes increased testing will help find people who are asymptomatic. 

“What we found is the spread is more significant amongst the staff. But it’s not that they weren’t following the protocols in some places they were it’s just somebody didn’t show symptoms," Desantis said. "And so doing strike teams I think will be good for the residents but it’ll also be good to identify this with the staff so the appropriate staff can be isolated and we can prevent a outbreak amongst the staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.”

Visitation at long-term care facilities and nursing homes has been banned since March 13. The move is in response to outbreaks at several facilities especially in hard-hit South Florida. In North Florida, Leon County currently has the fourth highest number of positive cases in long-term care facilities.

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