ELGIN, Texas (KXAN) – A staff member at Elgin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first case of the virus confirmed by KXAN at a senior facility in the city.
The person who tested positive “is now recovering at home and will not return to the facility until they are cleared by medical professionals,” said Brooke Ladner, senior vice president of business development with Regency Integrated Health Services, which operates the facility. “As required by the State of Texas, we are now in process of testing each resident and staff member at the facility and we will notify appropriate officials as soon as we receive the results.”
Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and other state agencies to test every resident and staff member for COVID-19 in all nursing homes in the state, according to a statement released Monday.
Texas’ nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been struck hard by coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. Of the state’s 1,121 deaths from the virus, 425 have been related to nursing homes. There have been 89 deaths in assisted living facilities statewide, according to state and HHSC data updated Monday.
KXAN has independently confirmed COVID-19 in 17 Central Texas senior facilities. Regency, one of the largest nursing home operators in the state with 57 locations, has confirmed four of its facilities have had a resident or staff member contract the virus.
All locations with a confirmed case are required to report it to HHSC, but the agency has refused to release the names of those facilities to the media and general public. HHSC officials say Texas privacy laws prohibit them from releasing the names of the nursing homes. Numerous other states do provide lists of nursing homes with positive cases.
While the state will not disclose the names of nursing homes, the federal government said it will be begin providing that information. Federal guidelines now require facilities to report data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at least once a week, and they must notify residents and families of new cases by 5 p.m. the next day.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will also post that information online.