AUSTIN, Texas - Nursing homes have been some of the places hardest hit by COVID-19.To protect the most vulnerable, the city of Austin put in control orders in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Now those have escalated.
“It requires these facilities notify patients, family and staff any time there is a case at that facility. It also requires that restrictions happen for those experiencing outbreaks,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority for the city of Austin.
Escott said issuing the new orders was a necessity to protect the elderly. So far there have been eight outbreaks in nursing homes and senior care facilities around Austin.
“That includes 96 residents as well as 67 staff, 15 deaths of residents and at least one healthcare worker working at one of those nursing homes who has died as well,” said Escott.
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One nursing home has more than 35 people infected. Escott said they are also looking at bringing in strike teams, or extra personnel to help on the frontlines.
“Not only are patients and residents getting sick, but also staff are getting sick and that means staffing shortages are mixed with increasing populations that have more needs in these facilities. This is very concerning for us. It's concerning for us as a state, it's concerning for us as a country and we have to do better,” said Escott.
According to city data, the majority of COVID-19 deaths are in people over the age of 60.
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