Luling nursing home confirms coronavirus cases

Investigations

LULING, Texas (KXAN) – Magnolia Living and Rehabilitation, one of three nursing homes in Luling, has confirmed at least two cases of coronavirus at the facility, according to a statement released by the company Monday.

A spokesperson for Magnolia said it is following all recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of the virus, according to a statement.

“We are taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus within our facility. Leadership is working closely with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps at this time,” according to Magnolia’s statement. “Due to patient privacy laws, we are unable to share any further specific information about the confirmed cases in our facility, but we have notified their immediate family members/guardian.”

On May 31, Magnolia reported it had no confirmed cases of the virus among staff and residents, and it had no shortages of equipment or staff, according to data collected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Caldwell County reported a spike in cases over the weekend, attributing it to results from nursing home tests conducted last week.

The county says five homes were tested and there was an outbreak at one of them.

The county’s emergency management office did not confirm which facility had the outbreak, only that it was located in Luling.

It also says a disinfectant team from the national guard was sent to decontaminate the nursing home experiencing the outbreak.

Increasing testing

Hundreds of people have been trying to get tested for COVID-19 in Caldwell County.

The emergency management chief, Hector Rangel, says 200 had signed up for drive-up testing on Tuesday in partnership with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas National Guard.

He says many more tried to sign up, but they had to shut down the web portal and phone line.

“We had 200 appointments this morning and the phone lines shut down because that’s where the limit was at,” Rangel says.

He added that they did also accept people who drove up without an appointment.

Rangel says the county just got approved for two more testing dates with the National Guard, possibly next week.

Incomplete data

The data that CMS released June 4 is the only nationwide record available of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. The data also includes multiple measures of facility preparedness, such as checks on staffing shortages and supplies like face masks and hand sanitizer. CMS said it will continue to gather the data and update the numbers on a regular basis.

The CMS data is incomplete, however, and many nursing home cases and deaths that were disclosed publicly before the first CMS reporting deadline of May 17 appear to be missing. Though facilities may report historical coronavirus data, they aren’t required to.

“Facilities may opt to report cumulative data retrospectively back to January 1, 2020. Therefore, some facilities may be reporting higher numbers of cases/deaths compared to other facilities, due to their retrospective reporting,” according to CMS’ website.

Nationwide, there have been over 95,500 cases of the COVID-19 in nursing homes and 31,782 deaths in the facilities, according to CMS.

Many state health departments have provided data identifying individual nursing homes with cases, but Texas officials will not release that data. Texas Health and Human Services spokespersons have said that information is protected by health privacy laws.

You can view an interactive map of the CMS data for Texas at the bottom of this story.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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