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Caregivers for Compromise highlights COVID-19 restrictions on long-term care facilities at Capitol

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 6:43 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Outside the Old Historic Capitol, there are 300 bright yellow signs placed in front of the building, each with the name of someone in a long term care facility or nursing home.

Some have passed away during the pandemic, and others still living in isolation.

Mary Daniel founded Caregivers for Compromise.

“This is a grief process really,” Daniel said. “Our loved ones are not gone but we can’t get to them, so there is grief that goes along with that. there is frustration, there is angry, there’s helplessness, hopelessness, that it’s never going to change.”

During the statewide shutdown, she went more than 100 days without seeing her husband.

“He lost weight. He was withdrawn. He will never recover from what those 114 days did. Now expand that out to the tens of thousands of people in nursing homes and rehab facilities that still haven’t gotten to their loved ones,” Daniel said.

Back in October, Governor DeSantis revised visitation rules, allowing caregivers to see loved ones and take them for outside visits.

But, Mary Ellen Varnum, one caregiver, says that hasn’t been the case.

Varnum explained, “The facilities are holding on tight to these restrictions that they’ve put in place and only things like this I believe are going to make a difference.”

As many Florida seniors get vaccinated, this group is calling on the governor and state lawmakers to enforce the order.

“Isolation is just…it’s killed so many, but it’s also taken my mom’s life away from her,” Varnum said. “The lives to see me every day that’s her joy there is no other joy.”

Daniel added, “There are many people here who have passed away and for those people I want them to be able to look back, the family members and now that they did everything in their power to fight for them, if it didn’t help your loved one it will help someone else.”

Daniel estimates there are about 140,00 people in nursing homes and long term care facilities across Florida.

These signs will be here until Sunday, then they’ll travel to Orlando and West Palm Beach.

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