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Florida cracks down on nursing homes and assisted living facilities to protect elderly from COVID-19

The head of the state's Agency for Health Care Administration sat down with 10Investigates.

The head of Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration sat down with 10Investigates' Courtney Robinson to talk about what the state is doing to ensure nursing homes and assisted living facilities are complying with procedures to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus.

Secretary Mary Mayhew says, at this point, there have been no cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Mayhew says these facilities need to be screening visitors and turning away anyone who is sick, has traveled internationally or been on a cruise in the last 14 days. Additionally, she says workers who are ill need to stay away.

"What we are saying today is they need to be at a much higher standard to restrict those who are coming into their facilities," Sec. Mayhew said. "So there should be a sign at every facility. I went to facilities yesterday, I had my temperature taken, I was screened, I was asked all the questions, I had to fill out a log. No one is exempt from answering those questions."

Sec. Mayhew says if ACHA staff members find a facility with systemic violations, it could lose its license.

There are roughly 680 nursing homes and more than 3,000 assisted living facilities in Florida. ACHA is prioritizing those that have had issues in the past with infection prevention and control.

They want to make sure that if they need support, they get it now.

If you have questions about the protocol in place at your facility or your loved ones, call and ask. You should report concerns to ACHA. To file your complaint, call 1-888-419-3456.

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