Texas forms strike force to curb coronavirus in nursing homes

Texas has created a statewide strike force to assess issues at nursing homes and help curb the spread of the new coronavirus among the vulnerable populations in the long-term care facilities, according to NPR.

All over the country, COVID-19 has ravaged nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. About a third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are among those who live or work at these facilities. Nearly half (47 percent) of the nearly 1,900 COVID-19 deaths in Texas have been linked to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

The Texas Quick Reaction Force for nursing homes is coordinating efforts statewide, including bringing in municipal and Texas State Guard medics to test nursing home residents and staff. There are 1,222 nursing homes in Texas.

BCFS, a nonprofit provider of emergency health and human services, has joined the strike force and taken over operations at six nursing homes in the state with high numbers of coronavirus cases.

Hundreds of on-site inspections have been conducted by the state's skilled nursing facilities regulator, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, in the last two months due to the pandemic, and the agency plans to further ramp up its response, NPR reports. It has created special infection-control assessment teams to review practices and provide guidance to facilities with infection-control issues.

As of May 24, there were 2,296 COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents and staff in the state, and 230 deaths, according to the latest CDC data available.

More articles on post-acute care:
Nursing homes fall short of federal testing recommendation
Wisconsin to test all nursing home residents, staff
Serious infection control issues found at 10 Life Care facilities, CMS says 

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