Coronavirus in Florida: DeSantis wants to help assisted living residents isolated from their families

Families suffering through heartbreak due to non-visitation at assisted living facilities
Families suffering through heartbreak due to non-visitation at assisted living facilities

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – Families that are kept from loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are becoming more and more frustrated.

Not being able to see each other is taking its toll on families, leaving many to wonder if there is a realistic solution in sight. 

It has been four long months and at 86 years old, Donna Cody has one wish; to see her daughter. 

There continues to be no visitors allowed in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

"I want to be able to give her a kiss, to touch her, see her," Donna said. 

Her daughter Linda may be 65 years old, but she has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old and confined to her assisted living facility.

No visitors, and no going out to visit her mother.

The phone calls every night just don’t do it.

“You still have to feel the love and see the love and we just can’t do it under these circumstances,” Donna said. “In six weeks it’s going to be her birthday. It’s like Santa Claus to her, her birthday. She’s like a little girl. And she wants to come home for her birthday and there is no way. We can’t just say yes you can come home  for your birthday, and now I’m even wondering about Christmas.”

Linda's sister also feeling the pain of not being able to visit. 

“Linda was crying on the phone, she doesn’t have anybody,” said Debbie Martinez, who is Linda’s sister and Donna’s daughter. “I found a mechanical cat online that meows and rolls over, so got that and had that sent into Linda and Linda absolutely loves it, but that’s Linda’s companionship. A mechanical cat.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the federal government is sending in rapid tests, with results in 15 minutes. Those tests could help some of these separated families. 

"I really worry about the toll isolation has had on people in longer term care facilities," DeSantis said. "I think we need to be able to think about visitation again. If you test negative, you can go in and see your loved one."

Said Martinez: “This is ridiculous. It’s uncalled for and there are so many people in the same situation.”

Donna would like to see a visitation area set up that can be cleaned after a visit.

The governor first brought up the visitation issue at the beginning of June, but cases spiked and it was sidelined.

Local 10 made the governor’s office aware of Donna Cody’s situation and will provide any updates. 

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