On July 20, 2020, Jay Solomon, CEO of Aviva — A Campus for Senior Life, took part in a teleconference with local and national media representatives, organized by the professional association LeadingAge Florida. Solomon, joined by the President & CEO of LeadingAge Florida and President & CEO of LeadingAge National pleaded for assistance in light of the number of COVID-19 infected residents and staff in long-term facilities around Florida. LeadingAge represents 5,000 nonprofit nursing homes and assisted living communities around the state.
This unified front implored U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott to help craft legislation to help with the costs, staffing strain, and loss of life associated with the pandemic. The teleconference received widespread media coverage, including from television and newspapers in some of the state’s biggest media markets (see a complete list below).
Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge said, “We need real solutions now, not a patchwork of policies that allow the pandemic to grow more deadly and dangerous.”
COVID-19 Testing for Senior Communities in Florida
Solomon shared that Aviva receives testing assistance only for our skilled nursing and assisted living facility staff, not our residents or staff at Kobernick Independent Living. Those who fall outside the definition of mandatory testing by the state of Florida are tested privately through Aviva. Keep in mind that each COVID-19 test costs about $100 per person.
In May, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state lacked the resources to conduct immediate testing of all residents and staff at long-term care facilities, as recommended by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Florida requires that all staff of long-term care facilities be tested every two weeks, and covers the cost. Results take at least 72 hours, potentially longer as cases surge. Solomon told the legislators, “if it’s going to take more than 72 hours to get the results, then we kind of defeated the purpose.” The CDC recommends that, to be effective, test results for COVID-19 should take no more than 48 hours.
In addition, if the state were to stop funding the tests, which it may do in September, the cost to senior communities would be around $60,000 a month just to test staff. To test residents too would double that cost.
The COVID-19 Strain on Long-Term Care Facilities
State-wide, long term care facilities in Florida are seeing operating losses from $100,000 to $3 million per month. Then, there is the human cost. If current trends continue, an estimated 10,000 older Floridians will have died from COVID-19 by November 1, 2020.
The virus could potentially transfer from asymptomatic or presymptomatic staff to residents. Solomon said in the teleconference that personal protective equipment promised by the federal government has been of such shoddy quality it is unusable — if it arrives at all.
Adults 65 and older account for eight out of 10 COVID-19 related deaths, according to the CDC.
Keeping Up With COVID-19 News at Aviva
At Aviva, we make every effort to keep family and friends of our residents up-to-date on what’s happening with Kobernick Independent Living, Anchin Assisted Living & Memory Care, and Benderson Skilled Nursing.
Please follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our email list if you have not already for the latest updates. The Florida Department of Health provides updates on its Florida COVID-19 Response page. Information specific to COVID-19 in Sarasota County is regularly updated on the county’s website.
You can also visit our blog for up-to-date articles on social distancing, life in quarantine, and other relevant topics for seniors and their families. We also invite you to support the Aviva COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
To view the local and national coverage of this press conference click on the links below:
- McKnight Long-Term Care News
- McKnight Senior Living News
- Bradenton Herald
- News 4 Jacksonville
- CBS Miami
- Skilled Nursing News
- Miami Herald
- Tampa Bay Times
- CBS 12 West Palm Beach