AUSTIN (KXAN) — Nearly 4,000 of the states most vulnerable residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to new numbers released by the state.
On Friday, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission launched a web page tracking the spread of the virus in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For the first time, HHSC released the number of residents in each type of home who have tested positive.
Previously, the state would only release the number of facilities reporting at least one confirmed case.
The data reveals 3,011 nursing home residents have tested positive, and 382 assisted living facility residents have tested positive.
The state also began releasing the number of residents who have recovered: 494 nursing home residents and 116 assisted living facility residents.
This new data comes as the state begins to test all nursing home residents for the virus, under a directive from the Governor.
A spokesperson for HHSC told KXAN, “The testing is in progress and is being administered, in most cases, at the local level by local health departments and fire departments.”
They said the goal was to complete the testing of all Texas nursing homes in two weeks.
They clarified testing was only being done in nursing facilities, not assisted living facilities or other types of long-term care facilities.
“Nursing facility residents are among the most at-risk for infection, and the expansion of testing to all residents and staff will provide a full picture of the scope and extent of infection at facilities statewide,” the spokesperson said.
They said they have deployed “surge teams” to 78 nursing facilities in more than 30 counties across the state.
“The teams deploy to conduct testing and specialized assessments and to help facilities implement important changes to infection control practices. This work will continue until it is no longer needed,” the spokesperson said.
The state still refuses to report which facilities have confirmed cases, so KXAN has independently confirmed COVID-19 in 17 Central Texas senior facilities.
HHSC officials say Texas privacy laws prohibit them from releasing the names of the nursing homes. Meanwhile, numerous other states do provide lists of nursing homes with positive cases.