Orange County health officials investigate COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes

Video: Orange County health officials investigate COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Orange County Health Department is investigating COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes.

The first thing Gov. Ron DeSantis did was cut off visitors to Florida’s long-term care facilities.

Four months later, while many locations still have zero deaths, more are dealing with outbreaks.

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A home health nurse said her job, like the jobs of many health care workers, has been scarier. Although she isn’t working with COVID-19 patients, she is more exposed than the average nurse because she is going from place to place. She said it has given her a unique perspective about how different facilities are handling the virus.

“One facility in particular has a really nice form that you fill out and they also do the temperature (check) and they will not let you come in unless you can show them a negative COVID-19 test,” Kathy Muniz said.

But not every facility does that.

She said different facilities also require different amounts of personal protection equipment to interact with residents.

Orange County health director Dr. Raul Pino said some variation is normal. Some places have more or less space around residents, but he said some just have bad practices.

“(I’m) very concerned in the sense that all our facilities were not all created equally and there are some that are better than others and that is just the truth,” Pino said.

He said it is especially concerning if bad habits lead to traveling nurses unwittingly carrying the coronavirus from place to place.