‘Get resources now’: Austin City Council approves nursing home resolution

Nursing Home Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin City Council approved a resolution to dedicate resources to fighting the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.

In Thursday’s council meeting, one of the resolution’s sponsors, council member Ann Kitchen, thanked the families of these residents for their dedication.

“Their continued vigilance for their families and their reaching out to us has been very important,” Kitchen said.

The resolution directs city staff to work on several different initiatives:

  • Immediate testing of all staff and residents at all facilities with clusters
  • Testing of all staff at all facilities as soon as possible
  • Deploying “Strike Teams” to enhance staff resources at all facilities with clusters
  • Ensuring all facilities have sufficient PPE and testing equipment
  • Providing for incentives and funding for hiring and retaining facility staff
  • Collaborating with the Design Institute for Health at the Dell Medical School to identify preventive strategies to protect residents in vulnerable facilities
  • Providing ongoing updates to the Council on results and status of actions
  • Identifying any additional actions/funding needed to prevent

In the meeting, Kitchen also said this resolution authorizes the City Manager to “immediately use the funding and the resources necessary to carry out the actions that are in this resolution.”

The council did not provide an estimate of how much these initiatives could cost, but Kitchen said she expects city staff to provide an estimate as a part of the budget framework to be presented on May 21.

“This is to get resources now. We can’t wait for the state and federal government,” Kitchen said. “We will of course — our staff is doing this, and City Manager, I know you all are doing this — seek reimbursement where we can. But we can’t wait, and we need to take immediate action.”

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