CORONAVIRUS Statewide efforts to test nursing homes underway as coronavirus rises amongMontgomery County seniors
Health Care Edition 2020
COVID-19 AMONGSENIORS IN PUBLIC HEALTH REGION 6/5S* The coronavirus has spread among nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across Texas, including the public health region—designated as 6/5S by the Texas Department of State Health Services—that includes Montgomery County and 15 other counties around Houston. ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITIES
BY EVA VIGH
be tested for the coronavirus. Com- munity Impact Newspaper reached out to the governor’s office for clar- ification on a timeline and funding source, but as of May 22, details were not available. For local senior facilities, the effect of the order was unclear. “It is very loose. Right now we don’t know who’s covered in it,” Amado said. Amado said following the case at Brightpointe, the county hospi- tal district tested all of the other residents May 6, and all results came back negative. The MCPHD covered the costs for these tests, he said. Employees were also required to test themselves, he said. Abbott’s order does not specify if counties will ultimately be responsi- ble for administering tests. Conroe Fire Marshall Stephan Cottar said the Conroe Fire Depart- ment began assisting with testing efforts May 26. And according to The Woodlands Fire Chief Palmer Buck, The Woodlands Fire Department, the Montgomery County Hospital District, the MCPHD and the Mont- gomery County Fire Marshal’s Office put together a task force to comply with the state-mandated coronavirus testing in nursing homes. To test every Texas nursing home resident just once could cost about $29 million and nationwide $440 million, according to a study by The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
cases of COVID-19, 176 cases and 34 deaths among assisted-living facility residents, and 96 reported recoveries among those facilities as of June 5. While the elderly account for only a small portion of Montgomery Coun- ty’s cases, they represent a greater number of deaths. As of June 5, 58 of the county’s 1,064 coronavirus cases were over the age of 80, according to the Montgomery County Public Health District. However, 13 of the county’s 27 coronavirus-related deaths were individuals over the age of 80. At least 21 of the county’s cases and at least two deaths stem from two nursing homes managed by HMG Healthcare: Park Manor of Conroe and Park Manor of The Woodlands, according to the MCPHD. At least three coronavirus-related deaths were also reported in a luxury retire- ment community in The Woodlands. On April 27, Brightpointe at Rivershire reported its first case—an infected patient who was returning from the hospital. Amado credited the facility’s strict procedures and practices as the reason the virus did not spread further. “The day the test came back positive, the patient was sent back to the hospital and has remained there ever since,” Amado said. “Fortunately for us, nobody got infected.” Testing troubles On May 11, Gov. Greg Abbott released an order requiring 100% of nursing home residents and staff to
As the number of coronavirus cases among senior living facilities con- tinues to grow across Montgomery County and Texas, efforts to track and curb the spread of the coronavi- rus are underway. A March 19 state order requires 100% of nursing home staff and employees to be tested, but it is unclear when statewide testing will begin and how it will be funded. “Now that the economy is opening, we should remember that [nursing homes] have the most vulnerable population, and it’s the population we need to keep safe,” said Rolando Amado, the executive director for Brightpointe at Rivershire, a skilled nursing facility in Conroe. Statewide, there have been 1,927 confirmed COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents and 321 deaths as of June 5, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Nationwide, the total of corona- virus deaths in nursing homes was 31,782 as of June 5, according to CMS. It also reported 95,515 confirmed coronavirus cases among nursing home residents in the U.S. As of June 5, the 16-county public health region that includes Montgom- ery County had reported 110 nursing homes with resident or staff cases of COVID-19 as well as 1,025 confirmed cases, 153 fatalities and 319 recoveries among nursing home residents. In the same public health region, there were 55 assisted-living facilities with confirmed resident or staff
assisted-living facilities with confirmed resident or staff
cases of COVID-19 55
confirmed cases among residents 176
deaths among residents 34
reported recoveries among residents 96
nursing homes with confirmed resident or staff
cases of COVID-19 110
confirmed cases among residents
deaths among residents 153
SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER *AS OF JUNE 5 reported recoveries among residents 319
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