Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to protect the vulnerable elderly from COVID-19. On Friday, he offered a field demonstration.
The Governor was in Jacksonville, at the Dolphin Pointe nursing home in the Arlington area, a regional spotlight of what he clearly sees as the active front in the war against the novel coronavirus.
The facility will be used exclusively for recovering COVID-19 patients, with 17 on hand and seven more in the next 24 hours from throughout North Florida. Dolphin Pointe has negative pressure rooms and other amenities many nursing homes lack.
Statistics back that up, with over 600 residents and staff of longterm care facilities having already died due to COVID-19 complications from COVID-19. As of Wednesday, 470 facilities have residents or staff currently battling a known infection.
“We knew this was a disease with a disproportionate effect on the elderly, particularly those with comorbidities,” the Governor said, with PPE streaming to the facilities.
The Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Health focused on facilities deemed particularly vulnerable, DeSantis said, noting the 50 National Guard “strike teams” in facilities.
“One of the things AHCA Secretary Mary Mayhew understood early on,” DeSantis said, was that many facilities lacked the capacity for COVID-19 treatment.
As a result, AHCA worked with hospitals not to discharge positive patients back to facilities, as other states have in what the Governor calls a “disastrous” way.
“There’s a bunch of other states that have real, real problems with this,” DeSantis said, citing New York specifically
DeSantis has highlighted, both with in-state media and national conservative outlets, his contention that the issues in long-term care facilities can be handled while reopening the state in a phased matter.
Mayhew, who was applauded upon taking the mike, referred to Dolphin Pointe as a “model” to be replicated statewide.
The Governor also spotlighted antibody testing, which will be available at the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium starting Saturday for up to 100 health care workers and first responders.
The goal: to see if they actually had the disease, and to discern if they have immunity.