SAN MARCOS, Texas - Hays County says all residents and staff in six nursing facilities across the county will be tested for COVID-19.
More than 1,000 employees and residents will have been tested by the county's task force, with results expected within 72 hours. The task force, made of 18 testing and eight support personnel, has set up a system allowing them to test up to 100 people an hour at facilities in Dripping Springs, Wimberley, Kyle, and San Marcos.
“What’s so unique and special about this task force is that they all volunteered to help, we didn’t have to require anyone to participate,” said San Marcos Fire Chief Les Stephens. “They all have a selfless spirit and immediately stepped up to assist with this important effort to help protect one of the most vulnerable populations in our communities.”
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The task force was established after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all nursing home residents and staff to be tested for COVID-19. The task force consists of personnel from San Marcos Fire Department, Kyle Fire Department, Buda Fire Department, North Hays Fire Rescue, South Hays Fire Department, San Marcos Emergency Management, Hays County Health Department, and San Marcos Hays County Emergency Medical Services.
Prior to beginning the testing on Monday, the task force worked with Dr. Katherine Remick, the San Marcos Hays County EMS Medical Director, to develop protocols to safely and efficiently complete the testing.
All task force members were tested beforehand to make sure they were not spreading the virus. While conducting the testing, personnel wore Tyvek suits, disposable medical gowns, two layers of medical gloves, N95 face masks, face shields, booties, and head coverings. Between every test, one set of gloves and the disposable apron were changed.
Most tests are being returned in 48 hours, says the city of San Marcos; however, 72 hours is the expectation. All of the testing is being paid by the State directly to the private lab. The City says it is eligible for reimbursement for other expenses from TDEM, through the CARES Act.
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