U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says she has tested negative for the novel coronavirus after possible exposure at a nursing home in the Keys.
Last week, Mucarsel-Powell traveled to the Crystal Health and Rehab Center. That trip came after family members of residents expressed concern to Mucarsel-Powell that they were not notified of positive tests at that facility.
At least 16 individuals have tested positive at the center.
“Thankfully I’ve tested negative for COVID-19,” Mucarsel-Powell said.
“I am glad that my situation shined a light on the struggles so many families with loved ones at nursing homes are going through.
Mucarsel-Powell says she went inside the facility during the visit, with permission of the facility director. Mucarsel-Powell says she was wearing a mask at the time.
“I was later notified that this area was unsafe and that I was possibly exposed to COVID-19, which validates my constituents’ serious concerns with this facility,” Mucarsel-Powell said.
She announced Friday she would enter self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.
The Congresswoman argues the incident shows the need to make safety at these facilities a higher priority.
“According to the data, one-third to one-half of all coronavirus deaths nationally are nursing home residents or workers, and in Florida, nursing home residents and workers account for 42% of total COVID-related deaths,” Mucarsel-Powell added.
“I’m fighting to require nursing homes to report any instances of COVID-19 to the CDC and families within 72 hours, expand rapid-testing and contact tracing for residents and staff, enforce OSHA protections for workers and provide them with hazard pay. Sending your loved one to or working in a nursing home or a long-term care facility should not be a death sentence.”