People in Florida have to be happy that they have Republican governor Ron DeSantis at the helm during this coronavirus crisis. He managed to keep people in nursing homes safe and so far has piloted his state through the coronavirus crisis without losing too many Floridians or crushing his state’s economy. Sadly, people in New York cannot say the same about their governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
DeSantis posted the numbers for Florida:
For May 24, Florida reported over 41,000 test results with 997 positive tests for a statewide positivity rate of 2.5%.
Positivity rate for original Phase 1 counties: 1.98% pic.twitter.com/2P9ssPOOvF
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 25, 2020
Nursing homes in Florida
Over 20% of Floridians are seniors or one of every five people, or over 4 million Floridians. The only other state with more seniors is California, which is having the same troubles as every other state, with most of the coronavirus deaths in their nursing homes. According to the New York Post: Florida has roughly 350,000 residents and staff at more than 4,000 long-term-care facilities.
Florida seniors were safer because Governor DeSantis data from South Korea and Italy to decide how to handle seniors in Florida. The data revealed that the most vulnerable population was the elderly, particularly those over 80. So, DeSantis put measures in place to protect that population and used the state’s emergency infrastructure.
Because of frequent natural disasters, particularly hurricanes, the state has a robust emergency infrastructure including data collection. Using that system, DeSantis bolstered the nursing homes with PPE, testing, and monitoring of facilities. In the case of an outbreak in a nursing home, the infected were immediately isolated, If an HCP was infected, they were immediately sent home.
According to Click Orlando:
When a nursing home is found to have an outbreak, the state sends a health department team to work with the staff. The governor has also sent National Guard teams to nursing homes around the state to test employees and patients for the virus.
Results are in
Governor DeSantis made his own decisions about how to handle the crisis. But the mainstream media predicted doomsday for Florida and heaped opprobrium on him for putting his population at risk. In spite of the dire predictions, DeSantis forged ahead, giving counties flexibility in handling the coronavirus crisis, as most of the cases came from just three counties, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.
Florida is in much better shape than New York. In fact, though Florida and New York have roughly the same number of people, Florida has a little more than 2,000 deaths compared to New York’s almost 25,000 deaths. And in spite of the higher number of seniors in Florida, there were far fewer deaths in Florida nursing homes than in New York.
DeSantis explained how Florida operated during the coronavirus crisis:
We basically had businesses operating. We had the daycares open, we had recreation open, and my order never actually closed any businesses. We allowed them to operate within the context of just limiting contact between people outside the household.
DeSantis had a common-sense approach to lockdowns, concerned that they hadn’t been tried before and could be harmful to his state. He explained:
One of the things that bothered me throughout this whole time was, I researched the 1918 pandemic, ’57, ’68, and there were some mitigation efforts done in May 1918, but never just a national-shutdown type deal. There was really no observed experience about what the negative impacts would be on that.”
“So I was very concerned about things on that side as well, and I think that’s why I had a more nuanced and balanced approach than some of the other governors. Because you have some of these health officials saying, ‘You’ve got to do this. This is science,’ or whatever. But really, these were unchartered territories.”
Governor DeSantis showed true leadership in looking at the data, the CDC guidelines, the models, the projections, his state’s people and needs, and made decisions that benefitted the people of Florida and largely kept them safe. We need more governors like DeSantis.
Cuomo blames President Trump for nursing home deaths
Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, didn’t make good decisions for his state, and is now blaming President Trump for the nursing home deaths in his state, which are more than double the number in Florida, saying New York was following Trump’s policy on COVID-19 and nursing homes.
But the “Trump policy” is not the president’s policy, it is the CDC guidelines. The CDC did not mandate but rather set guidelines for managing COVID-19 in nursing homes, which governors then either implemented or not. The federal government paid for COVID-19 testing and labs.
According to CDC guidelines, COVID positive patients should only be allowed in nursing homes if the home could provide isolation, and dedicated staff to tend the COVID patients exclusively, among other things. But Cuomo went beyond the guidelines when he mandated by executive order, that nursing homes could not reject COVID positive patients.
Taking the time to read the CDC guidelines for nursing homes and COVID-19 will reveal if you have ever been to a nursing home, how hard it would be to meet the guidelines for managing coronavirus patients in a nursing home. The cleaning, the personal protective equipment, and the hourly crises that happen in nursing homes rules out the possibility of meeting the CDC guidelines. Some of the recommendations, e.g. isolation units and air exchange, would require infrastructure changes to facilities, which requires time. The virus does not wait while new infrastructure is being built.
Cuomo has said repeatedly that the most vulnerable population is the elderly, and then deliberately put them at risk, by ordering that no COVID positive patient could be turned away.
So, which governor really followed the CDC guidelines? Which governor is the hero?
Watch a Fox News report on Governor DeSantis’ lifesaving decisions: