Please keep reading our information because it changes every day. Below is the latest information provided to the association -- please note that we will continue to send updates as soon as we receive any new information.
COVID-19 UPDATE 34
During Today's Press Conference, Governor Ron DeSantis Announces AHCA's Latest Emergency Order Requiring Staff Testing Every Two Weeks

Hot Off the Press -- On June 16, 2020, AHCA issued an Emergency Order requiring staff working in health care communities (including ALFs) get tested every two weeks.

If a staff person had COVID-19 and is now revocered and back at work, the staff person DOES NOT have to be tested.

If you have questions about this emergency order, please contact us and we'll work with AHCA to get answers. For a copy of this notice for your files or for past notices and information, please visit FSLA's website , under COVID-19 resources.









June 16, 2020
 
Emergency Rule: COVID-19 Testing for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility Staff Required Every Two Weeks
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To further prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the Agency for Health Care Administration issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-4 and Emergency Rule 59AER20-5. These rules require nursing home and assisted living facility staff to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks with testing resources provided by the state and submit the test results to their employer/facility. The facility must keep copies of all staff testing documentation on site.  
 
To see the emergency rules, please click here: Emergency Rule 59AER20-4  and Emergency Rule 59AER20-5 .
 
Agency resources related to COVID-19 can be accessed on the Agency's COVID-19 alerts for facilities and Medicaid providers website by CLICKING HERE
 
Now is Not the Time to Relax: ALFs Are Being Held to Higher Standard

As we all know, on June 5, the Governor's Executive Order 20-139 for Phase 2: Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery went into effect. Holistically, one of the key takeaways was the continued expansion of Florida’s retail and entertainment industries. The Governor’s power point presentation is also a good summary of Phase I and Phase II.
 
However, now is not the time for ALFs and their staff to relax.
  • The scrutiny ALFs are under is increasing.
  • The visitation ban DEM Emergency Order 20-006 is still in effect.
  • We still have the requirement for baseline testing for all residents and staff per AHCA Emergency Rule 59AER20-2. Via Phase II, the Governor continued and increased this scrutiny of ALFs by stating that all persons who work in long-term care facilities should be tested for COVID-19 on a routine basis.

In short, the consensus we are hearing from key executive and legislative leaders is that because our resident population is vulnerable and must be protected, long-term care facilities, including ALFs, will continue to be looked at differently than the rest of the state. This higher standard should also include ALF staff when they are not on the clock.
Staff Members Must Take Extra Precautions as State Reopens
 
As the state reopens, staff members risk even more exposure to someone with COVID-19. Even when off-duty, staff should be mindful of social distancing, using appropriate PPE, infection control procedures.

DEM Emergency Order 20-006 already addresses some screening/preventatve criteria for restricting people with signs or symptoms of COVID-19: the presence of a respiratory infection, including cough, fever, shortness of breath or sore throat; contact with any person known to be infected with COVID-19, any person who traveled through any airport within the past 14 days; or any person who has traveled on a cruise ship within the past 14 days.

The consequences of exposure to COVID-19 are wide-ranging – not only will the staff person be quarantined, but all other staff members and residents that had close contact with the affected staff member will likely be isolated for 14 days. Additionally, with the virus capable of spreading before symptoms appear, the risk of spreading into a community is critical. One innocent act can significantly disrupt the lives of residents, families, staff and the skew the cost of bringing in temporary staff, of defending agency complaints and civil lawsuits, etc.
 
In short, whether in a senior living community or during off-hours while helping Florida’s economy recover, our staff should recognize that they must meet the challenge and meet a higher standard.
 
THE NUMBERS:
Per Florida’s Joint Information Center on COVID-19 6/14/20 e-mail, for 703 assisted living facilities and nursing homes, there are: 1,614 positive residents, 2,584 positive residents transferred, 2,448 positive staff, and 1,543 staff or residents have died. The list of long-term care facilities with active COVID-19 cases is available here . The list of long-term care facilities with deaths is available here , which is updated weekly.
We can not thank you enough for what you do to care for Florida's seniors on a daily basis.

You have always been special for choosing to work in health care, but COVID-19 has definitely shined a brighter light on your importance. What you do is not just an 8 to 5 job. It's a 24/7/365 commitment to not only taking care of others, but taking care of yourself as well.

Just remember that We Work in Health Care and We Make a Difference in the Lives We Serve Every Day!! Please Don't Forget to Take Care of Yourselves!
New Staff Poster & Resource for Your Break Room: #High Alert

On Friday, June 5, Florida moved into the Governor's Phase 2 Economic Recovery Plan.

As assisted living facilities welcome the Phase 2 progress, please acknowledge the increased risk to your communities.

Staff will now have opportunities to visit bars, gyms, vacation rentals and movie theaters. Today, the number and rate of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise statewide — a troubling indicator that the disease could be spreading more quickly.

More than ever, ALFs are screening staff daily and emphasizing the need to observe social distancing and to use face masks when interacting in public spaces.

To support ALFs in this continued messaging throughout Phase 2, FSLA developed a flier appropriate for posting in break rooms, in payroll envelopes and on community bulletin boards – wherever your staff gather at work – to echo the message: Our Staff Works in Health Care and Serves a Vulnerable Population.