More than 13% of Texas nursing homes have at least one resident with coronavirus, officials say

The Tomball nursing home in Houston is where an elderly man lived before dying this week of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune

More than 160 of the state’s 1,222 nursing homes, or about 13%, have at least one case of the new coronavirus, state officials said Thursday. And 38 nursing home residents and staff members have died of COVID-19 statewide.

The disclosure, made late Thursday by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, is the first time Texas has made public the extent of COVID-19's spread in nursing homes, as other states have done.

The move comes after The Texas Tribune reported Wednesday that Texas was not disclosing comprehensive data on nursing home residents and staffers who have tested positive for the virus.

But the Texas Health and Human Services Commission did not publish the total number of coronavirus infections in Texas nursing homes, and it did not name the facilities that have reported cases of the coronavirus.

"In compliance with patient, resident and employee personal health privacy laws, we cannot provide more detailed information," Texas Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman Christine Mann said in an email.

Roughly 93,000 Texans live in licensed nursing homes throughout the state.

The health commission also released figures for the first time on the number of assisted living facilities that had reported cases of residents or staff testing positive for the coronavirus. Of the state's 2,002 such facilities, 33 reported at least one case of the virus, according to the health commission. There were also nine deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, at those facilities statewide.

Mann said the state’s tally was current as of Wednesday and came from data reported to the health commission by facilities and local health departments.