DeSantis begins policy discussions on reopening nursing homes

Governor Ron DeSantis is offering new hope to families who have not been able to see their loved ones in long-term care for months. The governor held a round table discussion in Jacksonville Tuesday to discuss possibly implementing polices that would allow visits at long-term care facilities.

"Four and a half months is a long, long time and we just got to look at this and say is there anything we can do right now," DeSantis said.

Tuesday, the governor and his wife met with the health officials and the secretary for Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration.

"There isn't a day that goes by that my heart doesn't break because of this policy," AHCA secretary Mary Mayhew said.

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Back in March, the governor issued an emergency order prohibiting visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities. It meant Jacksonville resident Mary Daniels couldn't visit her husband.

"I sit here representing hundreds of thousands of caregivers. It's not just me," Daniels said.

Daniels was able to figure out a way around the policy. She ended up getting a job as a dishwasher at her husband Steve's assisted living facility where she's now able to see him in person.

"We are desperate and we are lonely and we are hopeless and helpless and I get to represent us with this great team of people here and I am absolutely confident that we will come up with ideas," Daniels said.

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Daniels' story was an inspiration to the governor, who has now made her part of a special committee aimed at coming up with policies to allow visitations.

"I'm thrilled to not only do it for the state of Florida but to really show the United States how we can make these loved ones feel loved, nurtured and held and hugged again," Daniels said.

No official policies were put in place, but the governor did say he will start to work on putting in place a policy that would allow people with COVID antibodies to visit their loved ones. As of right now, there's no word yet on when that policy could be put in place.