Texas Nursing Home Coronavirus Outbreak Infects 83 in Galveston County

Saturday, April 4, 2020
By Paul Martin

4 Apr 2020

HOUSTON, Texas — An outbreak of the coronavirus in another Texas nursing home spread like grassfire through a Houston-area facility in Texas City. Officials report at least 83 people tested positive for COVID-19.

Galveston County Health District officials announced earlier in the week that 13 people who live or work in The Resort nursing home in Texas City tested positive for COVID-19, the Galveston County Daily News reported. By Friday, that number grew to 70. Officials have not disclosed how many of the infected are residents or staff. All 146 residents and staff members have been tested.

The nursing home and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston tested 146 staff and residents of The Resort nursing home this week. Fourteen of those tests are still pending, officials stated. The number of COVID-19 cases connected to the nursing home outbreak could climb higher as other test results come in.

“Health district officials visited The Resort at Texas City on Saturday and from what we saw, they were following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Dr. Phlip Keiser, the county’s top medical official told the local newspaper. The county became aware of the outbreak on March 28.

“The Galveston County Health Authority says that long-term residents cannot leave the facility except for dialysis patients or for emergency transfers,” Fox 26 Houston reported. “Workers at facilities where a resident has tested positive cannot work at other facilities.”

Dr. Kaiser believes the virus got into the Texas City nursing home via a worker who became infected and then went to work, the Texas Tribune reported. “One of the things that we’re learning about this virus is that there are a lot more asymptomatic cases out there than anybody ever dreamed of,” Keiser told reporters. “I just view it as bad luck on their part.”

Earlier this week, Breitbart Texas reported that a San Antonio-area nursing home also experienced a COVID-19 outbreak that, at the time, had infected 66 out of 84 residents. One of those residents subsequently died after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The number of people infected in the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center claimed to 75 by Friday, the Texas Tribune reported.

“Of the eight staff members who are COVID-positive, we know that two of them worked in other facilities,” San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told the news outlet. “And the staff members who have not yet been tested — we know that they have worked in at least seven facilities in this city. That number is going to grow as we interview more staff members.”

San Antonio and Texas Health and Human Services Commission officials told the San Antonio Express-News that a team is now examining the nursing home’s protocols and use of personal protective equipment, the Texas Tribune reported.

The San Antonio facility also has workers who work in other facilities, the Tribune reported.

The San Antonio nursing home has a history of falling short of federal standards on staffing levels and health inspections, the Express-News stated.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he will amend his public health emergency order to “prohibit nursing-home staff from working in multiple facilities.” Galveston County officials issued a similar order that prohibits workers from a facility that has a COVID-19 case from working in another facility.”

Click2Houston reports COVID-19 outbreaks in other nursing homes in the Houston area. Those include The Conservatory at Alden Bridge in Montgomery County where 15 people tested positive and three died, Park Manor Quail Valley in Fort Bend County where four people tested positive, and The Waterford at College Station in Brazos County where 11 tested positive and five people died.

The high rate of infection and subsequent deaths of nursing home residents from COVID-19 led state and federal officials to ban outside visitors from nursing homes across the country. At this time, it is not known how the Coronavirus got into the San Antonio facility.

“We’ve issued a requirement suspending all medically unnecessary visits to various places but in particular nursing homes,” President Donald Trump said in a Rose Garden press conference on March 14. “Anyone can be a carrier for the virus and risk transmission to older Americans and those with underlying health conditions, and those who are most at risk. They have not done very well. … Especially if they have a health problem, they have not done well. We must take all precautions and be responsible.”

Information available at the time of this article’s publication from Johns Hopkins University reveals that Texas has 6,030 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — 342 in Bexar County (San Antonio) and 136 in Galveston County (home to Texas City). Of the 104 deaths reported statewide, nine came from Bexar County, including the 80-year-old man at the San Antonio nursing home. Galveston County has yet to have a COVID-19-related death, according to the website.

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