More from the NRO article posted above about FL’s approach (emphasis mine):
Florida, DeSantis notes, “required all staff and any worker that entered to be screened for COVID illness, temperature checks. Anybody that’s symptomatic would just simply not be allowed to go in.” And it required staff to wear PPE. “We put our money where our mouth is,” he continues. “We recognized that a lot of these facilities were just not prepared to deal with something like this. So we ended up sending a total of 10 million masks just to our long-term-care facilities, a million gloves, half a million face shields.”
Florida fortified the hospitals with PPE, too, but DeSantis realized that it wouldn’t do the hospitals any good if infection in the nursing homes ran out of control : “If I can send PPE to the nursing homes, and they can prevent an outbreak there, that’s going to do more to lower the burden on hospitals than me just sending them another 500,000 N95 masks.”
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this insight, and how much it drove Florida’s approach, counter to the policies of New York and other states. (“I don’t want to cast aspersions on others, but it is incredible to me, it’s shocking,” says the Florida health official, “that Governor Cuomo [and others] are able to kind of just avoid real questions about their policies early on to actually send individuals into the nursing home, which is completely counter to the real data.”)
Mary Mayhew had daily calls with the hospitals, with people involved in discharge planning on the line. “Every day on these calls,” she says, “I would hear the same comments and questions around, we need to get these individuals returned back to the nursing home. We drew a hard line early on. I said repeatedly to the hospital, to the CEOs, to the discharge planners, to the chief medical officers, ‘I understand that for 20 years it’s been ingrained, especially through Medicare reimbursement policy, to get individuals in and out. That is not our focus today. I’m not going to send anyone back to a nursing home who has the slightest risk of being positive.’”
“What we said constantly is let’s not have two cases become 20 or five become 50,” she continues. “If you don’t manage this individual as you return them back, you will have far more being transferred back to the hospital.” Early on, when tests had a slow turnaround, there was a lot of pressure to give way, but Mayhew was unmovable on the question.
At the other end of the equation at the nursing homes, the state made it clear, according to Mayhew, “if you are unable to adhere to these infection-control standards, if you are unable to safely isolate and dedicate staff to an isolation wing or unit, you need to transfer that individual to a hospital.”
As the health officials put it, succinctly, “We wanted people out, not in.”
Where are the arrest warrants for NY’s Cuomo, PA’s Wolf and NJ’s Murphy?