Florida National Guard plans to test every employee at long-term care facilities for COVID-19

Florida National Guard wants to test all employees at long-term care facilities
Florida National Guard wants to test all employees at long-term care facilities

MIAMI – The Florida National Guard will be testing every employee of every long-term care facility in the state.

This push is the latest effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in these most vulnerable facilities.

Florida has more than 300 care facilities where the most vulnerable live, and according to the state, more than 1700 residents and staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

"The lockdown of the facilities…the patients aren't getting out, so if they are bringing COVID-19 into the facility, it has to be through the staff," said National Guard Adj. General James Eifert.

For that reason, the National Guard strike teams will be testing every employee of every long-term care facility in Florida.

Eifert also said, during an appearance on Local 10's This Week in South Florida, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would like to see every long-term facility resident tested as well.

More: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis releases list of long-term care facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases

That can’t happen yet, not until the lab capacity, nationwide, can meet the demand of testing kits coming in.

On Sunday we learned that Florida is using labs both in and out of the state, looking to speed up the return of results.

“One of the problems that I've seen is that there really hasn’t been a national coordinated effort to make sure that we have all the reagents that we need for additional tests," said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

While Florida's long term care facilities have been closed to visitors as a protective measure for more than a month, residents have still taken ill.

“Once we are making sure they are not bringing COVID into the facility, we think we’ll have the best opportunity to close our arms around the facilities and make sure nothing else in introduced," said Eifert.