Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) announced on Thursday that she may have been “possibly exposed” to the coronavirus after visiting a Florida nursing home this week and will self-quarantine until she receives test results out of an abundance of caution.
“I was possibly exposed to COVID-19, which validates my constituents’ serious concerns with this facility,” Mucarsel-Powell said in a statement. “I will be working from home, and my family and I are not exhibiting symptoms. Out of an abundance of caution and following the advice of health care professionals, I will be getting tested for coronavirus, and will remain in self-quarantine until I have the test results back and my doctor says it is safe for me to leave my home.”
Today I spoke with Floridians who have been left in the dark about the safety of loved ones at Crystal Health nursing home in the Keys.
— Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (@RepDMP) May 19, 2020
On Tuesday Mucarsel-Powell visited the Crystal Health and Rehab Center in the Upper Keys after receiving numerous constituent complaints of the “troubled nursing home.” According to the Floridian lawmaker, she met with families whose loved ones reside at the nursing home are were enraged over the lack of communication regarding cases and awaiting residents testing results from the facility administration.
Mucarsel-Powell said she called the center after meeting with the family members and was unable to reach anyone. The congresswoman immediately drove to the Crystal Health and Rehab Center and spoke to the facility director, Ruth Robinson. The director assured Mucarsel-Powell that certain areas of the facility were a “safe zone” and invited her inside the facility, despite Governor Ron DeSantis issuing an executive order prohibiting visitation to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
“Following a meeting with the concerned families of residents of a troubled nursing home in my district, I immediately drove to the facility to try to get answers for my constituents,” she said. “When I reached the nursing home, the facility director invited me into the facility, assuring me that it was safe,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “I was later notified that this area was unsafe and that I was possibly exposed.”
Seven staff members and 15 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus after a speech pathologist was found to have the disease earlier this month, according to the Florida Department of Health website.
Mucarsel-Powell said she took the proper precautions by wearing a mask during her visit and social distancing. She is the fourth member of the Florida Congressional delegation to self-quarantine after being informed of exposure to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Republican Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart from Florida’s 25th Congressional District was the first member of Congress to test positive for the coronavirus in mid-March. The Florida congressman avoided returning to his home district and self-quarantined at his Washington, D.C apartment for the safety of his wife. He recovered from the virus three weeks later and became the first member of Congress to donate his blood plasma to OneBlood, a nonprofit blood center with operations in Florida and North Carolina to be used in an experimental treatment for critically ill coronavirus patients.