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August 3, 2020

CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

APD Issues Testing Emergency Rule Formalizing Steps Already Taken by Agency

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) issued Emergency Rule 65GER20-1, which requires all APD-licensed homes and APD-operated residential facilities to conduct Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing of staff every two weeks. This action is being taken to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 into facilities overseen by APD. This measure is consistent with rules previously issued by the Agency for Health Care Administration related to nursing homes and Assisted Living Facilities. The rule formalizes many steps already taken by the agency to protect the vulnerable residents. APD facilities did not have a COVID-positive case until later in the pandemic.

APD Director Barbara Palmer said, “APD wants our customers to receive the best possible care wherever they live. We understand this Emergency Rule will require a lot of coordination and logistics to test our licensed home and facility employees every 14 days; however, it is a vital step to help ensure the safety of our employees and customers.”

The rule requires COVID-19 testing every two weeks. The test kits will be provided by the state of Florida and without charge to the homes and facilities. The test kits will be mailed directly to the various homes and facilities, and they will implement their own testing schedule. Homes that have recently done testing may wait two weeks before conducting new testing. Group homes without any current residents are exempt from this requirement.

The licensed homes will be required to maintain a record of testing at each facility and must report compliance with testing and test results to APD by the first and 15th of each month.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with disabilities who have severe forms of autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, spina bifida, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. To learn more about the agency, call 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273) or visit