“Isolation kills, too”: Jacksonville group fights to lift restrictions inside Florida senior centers

Jacksonville, FL. — Hundred of signs can be spotted at the corner of Beach Blvd. and Penman Road that read ‘Isolation Kills, Too’.

Each sign lists the name of a long-term care resident who has either passed from COVID-19 or is still in isolation because of the virus.

Mary Daniel started Caregivers for Compromise after signing on to be a dishwasher at her husband’s facility, Rosecastle at Deerwood, just to see him as everything shut down at the height of the pandemic.

Now, nearly one year later, she’s still fighting for resident’s rights.

“We’ve now gone one year — all of our residents have had two shots and we want to know what’s next,” she told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant.

Mary got both doses of the vaccine, and so did her husband Steve.

She said she’s still not allowed to take him home.

“Isolation kills, too,” she said. “It’s not being enforced. I’m not allowed to take my husband out of the facility even though the current order says I can.”

She helped write the current order with Governor Ron DeSantis, which allows for visitation rules that were set in October.

Even as the order is set, Daniel said there is no enforcement and many facilities make their own rules.

She said many were concerned about large gatherings during the holiday season.

“We’re now over that,” she said. “Me taking Steve home just the two of us — there’s no reason to stop that now. We want that order to be enforced.”

300 signs on Beach Boulevard will travel to Tallahassee, where they will sit outside the Capitol steps.

From there, the traveling display will move to Orlando and then make a final stop in West Palm Beach.

The Agency for Healthcare Administration said as of March 1, all of Florida’s licensed nursing home and assisted living facilities have been offered the opportunity to have residents and staff vaccinated on site.

In statement, AHCA told Action News Jax, “The Agency sent an updated alert to providers to assist with expectations and questions, and continues to communicate with stakeholders.  Agency staff are also reviewing specific facility concerns when raised and following up to assist. Families and loved ones can contact the facility itself or the State Ombudsman for assistance addressing complaints. Anyone with further concerns about a facility not accommodating visitation for a family member or loved one at a facility can contact the Agency’s Complaint Administration Unit at 1-888-419-3456 or use our online Licensed Health Care Facility Complaint Form.”