FLORESVILLE, Texas – A veterans home in Floresville has been dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak that has so far infected 40 residents and 14 staff members, according to the Texas General Land Office, the state agency that oversees the facility.
The Frank M. Tejeda Texas State Veterans Home in Floresville is testing its residents and staff on a weekly basis, and cases have started to climb. The veterans home reported another outbreak in April 2020, soon after the beginning of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 case numbers, as of Jan. 20, for the state-run veterans home are as follows, according to the GLO:
Total Resident Census: 120
- Currently positive: 40
- Total positive since onset of pandemic: 65
- Recovered: 18
- Deaths: 7
Staff Census: 120
- Staff currently positive: 14
- Staff total positive since onset of pandemic: 39
GLO Press Secretary Matthew Atwood said two of the seven resident deaths are from January 2021.
So far, 81% of residents at the home and 64% of staff received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a clinic on Jan. 5.
Still, due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases, the VLB has tightened some of its restrictions at the facility to help combat the spread.
“All visitation and screening policies are still in place, and all protocols issued by the Center for Disease Control, Texas Health and Human Services Commission and Department of Veterans Affairs are being followed,” Atwood told KSAT in a statement.
Currently, no visitors, including family members, are allowed at the facility at this time, and the GLO is requiring that all staff and vendors undergo temperature checks and “acknowledge that they did not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, prior to being allowed entry to a VLB facility.”
However, in response to follow-up questions from KSAT, Atwood said that “per HHSC guidelines, residents were permitted to leave for the holidays.” He noted that returning from these trips could include spending time in quarantine.
The guidelines to which he appeared to be referring, were addressed in a Nov. 20, 2020 HHSC letter to providers.
HHSC has also said nursing facilities must allow “essential caregiver” visits. A resident can designate up to two essential caregivers, including their family members.
Atwood said because of privacy concerns, he could not say who at the facility had or had not taken a trip or received visitors.
He also declined to answer if the GLO had any theory on how the outbreak had happened, saying that it would be speculation.
HHSC confirmed to KSAT its investigators “have been investigating this facility and actively monitoring it for compliance and will continue until our investigation is complete.”
The VLB has requested that the VA send an infection control specialist to the vets home to “observe the staff practices” and the isolation area to identify areas that need improvement to best combat the spread.