Seven dead as COVID-19 ravages Kerrville nursing home

Employee claims there is no deadly outbreak; State, federal data says otherwise

KERRVILLE, Texas – Seven residents have died, and more than 100 residents and staff members in all have tested positive for COVID-19 following an outbreak of the virus at a Kerrville nursing home, state and federal records show.

Staff at Waterside Nursing and Rehabilitation, located in the 1200 block of Water Street, were mostly silent on Wednesday and referred inquiries from KSAT 12 to the facility’s administrator.

The administrator, who did not respond to an email seeking comment, was at a conference and would not be available to comment until Friday, employees at Waterside said.

A staff member who answered the phone Wednesday morning denied that a deadly outbreak had taken place inside the building and handed over the phone to a coworker when asked if she was familiar with data compiled by both the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

HHSC’s records, updated as of Nov. 3, show that 77 residents and 24 staff members have tested positive for the virus and that seven residents have died from it.

Data compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show those deaths have all taken place within the past few weeks.

Massive fine for SA nursing home housing COVID patients after state investigation uncovers long list of safety violations

The deadly outbreak was first reported by the Kerrville Daily Times.

Kerrville city officials on Wednesday referred questions about whether any mitigation efforts had been put in place to the facility’s administrator and then to a preparedness manager with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Kerrville’s four other nursing homes have had a combined total of only six coronavirus cases among residents, according to HHSC figures.

One of the facilities -- Hilltop Village Nursing and Rehabilitation Center -- however, has had 10 staff members test positive, the same records show.

HHSC officials on Wednesday confirmed an investigation at Waterside was now underway:

“Our top priority remains the health and safety of the residents and staff in licensed nursing facilities we regulate. HHSC is investigating this facility and actively monitoring it for compliance and will continue until our investigation is complete.”

State records show that more than 4,600 people have died from COVID-19 complications at Texas Nursing Home since the start of the pandemic.

Department of Health and Human Services records show Waterside was cited for 24 health violations during an investigation in May 2019.

The investigation discovered that a resident had not been properly treated with dignity and respect when staff failed to promptly change their urine soaked shirt.

The facility was also cited for failing to properly fill out the care plans of multiple residents, records show.

Waterside Nursing and Rehabilitation released the following statement:

Waterside Nursing and Rehabilitation statement. (KSAT)

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

David Raziq is the executive producer for the Defenders investigative team.