• June 5, 2020

ECHD working to identify exposed nursing homes - Odessa American: Local News

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ECHD working to identify exposed nursing homes

OFR steps up to test nursing homes

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Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020 6:34 pm

Ector County Health Department officials are working to identify which nursing homes a COVID-19 positive traveling healthcare worker has visited.

Ector County Judge Debi Hays said in a phone interview Wednesday that the woman who tested positive traveled among several nursing homes because she’s an occupational therapist.

“I don’t know what nursing home it was and I don’t even know if she works at that particular nursing home,” she said. Hays said that the Health Department is trying to figure out which facilities she contracts out with.

“They don’t have any of that information yet,” she said, “Because they are trying to find it.”

Hays said that the woman was tested because of the mandate put out by Governor Greg Abbott.

“I can’t tell you which facility she contracts from,” she said, “I just know she showed up, got tested,” but added that she didn’t know where the occupational therapist had been tested.

“They don’t know anything,” she said, “They’re trying to reach out to her and find out where all she has been.”

During Wednesday’s hospital briefing, County Commissioner Eddy Shelton said that the health department would give more information after investigating the situation further.

The nursing home positive reported Wednesday is the second COVID-19 positive case regarding Ector County nursing homes. The first was a 72-year-old male resident of Madison Medical Resort in Odessa who tested positive in April and since then Odessa Regional Medical Center and Medical Center Hospital tested the nursing home residents and employees. All of those test results came back as negative. Upon Gov. Abbott’s order to test all county nursing homes, Madison Medical Resort residents and employees were tested for the second time on Wednesday.

Odessa Fire Rescue visited Madison Medical Resort at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday as their fourth location in the county-wide nursing home testing ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott.

OFR Assistant Fire Chief Joey White said that he didn’t know about a new positive from a nursing home in the county, but that the person wouldn’t have been tested by OFR because they started their nursing home testing Monday.

He added that when all of the tests are done, “It’s 1,102 bodies and that counts residents and employees so we’re testing them all,” 243 of those people were being tested at Madison Medical Resort, White added.

He said that they have to get the testing done by Monday, but they will finish up testing two more Ector County nursing homes on Thursday and the Crane nursing home on Friday.

An OFR truck drove around the back of Madison Medical Resort pulling a trailer full of personal protective equipment, tables and testing supplies. UTPB police were also there as security along with an Odessa Police Department mobile trailer with computers and cataloguing equipment to help make the transition smoother as far as labeling tests and sending them off to an Odessa lab for results.

After removing equipment from the OFR trailer, firefighters put on full PPE including booties, facemasks, plastic face guards, smocks and gloves before passing a screening to go into the facility to start conducting the tests.

He added that it would take three to five days to get lab results.

First OFR tested employees at the nursing home and even those who weren’t on shift at the time came in to get tested and then OFR were going to test residents.

“It’s not a comfortable test,” White said referencing the swab that gets pushed into the nasal cavity for a sample. He showed the tests, which included the swab that goes into the airway and is twisted and a vial to hold the specimen before being sent off.

While multiple nursing home staff was tested, some described the feeling as getting chlorine in their nose after jumping in a pool, some said it felt like their nose and eyes were on fire and that the test was more uncomfortable than painful.

White said that the Ector County Emergency Management Coordinator Rickey George sent out a form last week in an email to pre-register tests so OFR knows how many tests will be conducted.

“We can only do what they hand us,” he said. “If they miss it, it’s on them.” He added that they cannot force people to take tests and if a resident denies a test, it’s up to the nursing homes facility to isolate that person up to 14 days. If workers refuse testing, they also have to go home and isolate for 14 days, he said.

He said its, a “win-win” situation for employees, because they’re able to get tested and OFR is getting the cost.

He said that they’ve been told that they will be reimbursed for the cost of each test at around $100.

White said that on Tuesday they did around 360 tests between two different nursing homes.

He added that most of the people at Madison Medical Resort had already been tested because they had a positive test earlier, but needed to get tested again per the Governor’s order.

When a representative at the Focused Care at Crane nursing home was asked about what steps they are going to take after a coronavirus case was confirmed Tuesday at their business, they said they had no comment and hung up the phone. Less than an hour later, White said that he was called by a representative at the Crane nursing home asking OFR for help getting tested. White said that they would be testing that nursing home on Friday.

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