Florida Releasing COVID-19 Numbers From Individual Nursing Homes

April 28, 2020

BY   Health News Florida

 The state is now releasing information about the number of patients and staff who have COVID-19 in individual nursing homes.

Last week, the state began releasing the names of long-term care facilities with positive COVID-19 cases. But information about how many cases and deaths at each facility was not provided.

During a press conference at Tampa General Hospital on Monday, reporters pressed Gov. Ron DeSantis for more information.

“So I'm going to look exactly how, what form they are putting it out for everybody and if it's inadequate we're going to address it,” DeSantis said.

A list on the Florida Department of Health's website now breaks down how many residents and staff tested positive in each facility and the number of COVID-19 patients who were transferred. The number of deaths was still not provided.

As of Monday, there were 3,355 cases of COVID-19 in 397 nursing homes throughout the state.

A description at the top of the report says the data is not cumulative. Instead, it reflects the previous day’s residents and staff with COVID-19 cases.

A nursing home in Escambia County has the state’s highest number of cases with 87 residents, 15 staff and 5 people who were transferred.

Miami-Dade County has more than 60 nursing homes with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19, more than any other county in the state.

Long-term care facilities in Florida are required to inform patients and their families about positive COVID-19 cases at their facilities.

However, families have complained about not getting information about the number of cases and deaths.

DeSantis said the state's surgeon general had been apprehensive about releasing the data to protect patient privacy and keep media from descending on nursing homes.

“And I think that that is a legitimate concern because I know how irresponsible some people can be,” DeSantis said. “But at the same time I was concerned if one nursing home didn’t inform the family like they were required to do and we could have simply put it out, then maybe it’s better to put it out.”