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City of San Antonio and Bexar County launch multi-layered response to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19

Communications and Public Affairs: 207-7234
Published on Friday, April 3, 2020

City of San Antonio and Bexar County launch multi-layered response to protect nursing home residents from COVID-19

For members of the media, please contact:
Laura Mayes, City of San Antonio (210) 207-1337
Michelle Vigil, City of San Antonio (210) 207-8172

For questions from the general public, please contact:
COVID-19 Hotline (210) 207-5779


SAN ANTONIO (April 3, 2020) — Today, the San Antonio and Bexar County Emergency Operations Center launched a multi-agency, multi-layered aggressive response to the localized COVID-19 outbreak at the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Of the 84 residents, 67 have tested positive for COVID-19, including one resident who passed away earlier this week. 11 residents’ tests came back negative and they are being kept in a separate part of the building, isolated from other residents and with an assigned staff that is not shared with other residents. Six tests are pending or inconclusive.
Metro Health also confirmed that eight staff from the nursing home have tested positive. They are in self-isolation and recovering from the virus. San Antonio and Bexar County emergency response staff are locating and testing all remaining staff from the center to ensure they are all tested for COVID-19.
Teams are visiting the seven other facilities where the Southeast center staff may have worked to test all residents and staff who show symptoms. Additionally, the San Antonio Fire Department and the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District are visiting all 34 of the lowest rated nursing homes in the community to conduct facility assessments in each of them, which includes evaluating their infection control and environmental health procedures. Finally, the SAFD will visit all 68 nursing homes in the area again to notify them of the process for EMS transports from their facilities. To transport a patient, they must first contact MedCom. In addition, the City will remind nursing homes of proper procedures to minimize the risk of an outbreak.
“I want to thank the local authorities for coming together quickly to respond to this outbreak and for coordinating efforts to protect all of our seniors,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “Our hearts are with the families of these patients as they recover from this virus. Seniors are some of our most vulnerable residents and we must all be vigilant and practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.”
Today, Mayor Nirenberg amended his public health emergency order to include a prohibition on nursing home staff working in multiple facilities.
“When we first heard of the positive cases at this nursing home, I asked folks to call on their family members and do what you can to stay in touch keeping in mind social distancing.  Now I’m asking each and every one of you out there to please follow the orders we have put in place,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
Information for nursing homes and families of nursing home residents:
To follow the Stay Home Work Safe orders issued by the Mayor, Judge and Governor, all nursing homes should be restricting access to everyone except staff and family in end-of-life circumstances. No unnecessary visitors should enter nursing homes.
All nursing homes should have cancelled group activities and communal food services. Staff at every nursing home should follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) protocols for sanitizing surfaces, washing hands, and maintaining safe distances.
Finally, there should not be any sick personnel at nursing facilities. Staff who are not feeling well should stay home or go home. Do not risk spreading the illness in the facility. If staff at these facilities feel they have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms should call MedCom at 210-233-5970.
Because there is community spread of COVID-19 in San Antonio, everyone should behave as if they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and stay home whenever possible, but especially if they are sick.
Following the first positive test for COVID-19 at the Life Care facility in Kirkland, WA, the SAFD and our Bexar County partners began notifying all nursing home facilities in the San Antonio area of the need to be aware of the possibility of COVID-19 cases amongst their staff and residents.
Since that time, STRAC Medcom has been monitoring all transports from nursing facilities, by both public and private EMS systems, with the intent to identify any potential patients showing symptoms in an effort to mitigate the possibility of further spread. The Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had showed an uptick in patients with respiratory illness, which is what allowed SAFD and Metro Health to respond rapidly.  



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Categories: City News, Health, COVID