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Texas Nursing Homes New Focus Of COVID-19 Concerns

As testing expands, the presence of COVID-19 in Texas nursing homes is becoming apparent.
As testing expands, the presence of COVID-19 in Texas nursing homes is becoming apparent.

One death in a Paris nursing home and dozens of other confirmed COVID-19 cases in that home and one in Rockwall are consistent with a nationwide trend of residents and staff of long-term care facilities coming down with the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Paris Outbreak Prompts Extra Testing Kits From State

Lamar County officials confirmed on Wednesday the death of a resident of the Paris Healthcare Center nursing home due to COVID-19. That patient was one of 48 people who have tested positive at the facility, according to the Paris-Lamar County Health District. Officials have not disclosed how many of those positive test results are from residents and staff, although they did say that both residents and staff have tested positive.

Residents of the nursing home who tested positive have been separated from those who did not test positive, epidemiologist Mark Lueke of the Paris-Lamar County Health District told multiple media outlets on Monday. The majority of the people who tested positive were asymptomatic, Leuke said.

The Paris News reported that four hundred nasal swab tests provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services arrived in Paris Wednesday night and that testing of residents of two other nursing homes, Legend Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center and Stillhouse Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, is beginning Thursday.

The delivery of the test kits was the result of city officials working with State Rep. Gary VanDeaver and Texas Department of State Health Services associate commissioner David Gruber after the outbreak at Paris Healthcare Center was revealed by testing on April 25. Those tests were part of a drive-up testing service organized by city and country officials that has since been put on hold as public agencies focus efforts on quantifying and containing the outbreak.

The number of people in Lamar County with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses is now at 61, the Paris-Lamar County Health District said.

“I am very impressed with the manner in which the local officials are handling this crisis,” VanDeaver told The Paris News. “Shortly after the outbreak was discovered, I received an email from Mayor Pro Tem Paula Portugal notifying me of the outbreak and requesting help.”

Rockwall Nursing Home Reports 26 Cases Among Residents, Staff

Rockwall County Emergency Management reported on Tuesday that 26 people associated with Broadmoor Medical Lodge Update had been confirmed as having the coronavirus. Of those, 20 are residents, and six are staff, officials said. Of the 26 cases, 11 were asymptomatic, they said.

Texas Nursing Home CV19 Death Rate Increasing

A Houston Chronicle analysis of state data published earlier this week showed more than 40 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in Texas were linked to nursing homes and assisted-living centers. Those figures show a jump from about 30 percent two weeks earlier, the Houston Chronicle said.

As of April 28, 33 percent of Texas COVID-19 deaths were connected to nursing homes, with nine percent linked to assisted-living facilities, the report said. Nationally, the death rate for the 23 states that report nursing-home fatalities is 2 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a national health policy think tank.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on April 27 that despite a partial re-opening of some closed Texas businesses on May 1, the state plans to address the pandemic’s arrival in long-term care facilities.

“We will also redouble our efforts to protect seniors in nursing homes, and other senior living facilities,” Abbott said. “That includes things like better infectious disease protocols at senior living centers. The bottom line is this: The more we do to protect our vulnerable senior population, the faster we can safely open business in Texas.”