The number of employees and residents testing positive for COVID-19 at a nursing home, The Resort at Texas City, rose Friday by 70 to a total of 83, according to the Galveston County Health District.
Thirteen positive tests had been reported earlier in the week, meaning 70 new cases from the facility were confirmed from tests taken Thursday and processed in partnership with the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The health district decided to test all employees and residents of the facility after the 13 positive tests and tested a total of 146 people on Thursday, officials said.
Some of those 146 tests are still pending, so the number of positive diagnoses for COVID-19 at The Resort at Texas City could continue to increase.
Dr. Philip Keiser, the county’s top public health official, said at a Friday afternoon news conference he thought 14 tests still were pending from the facility.
The nursing home, located at 1720 N. Logan St., is licensed for 135 patients.
The health district became aware of the first positive case at The Resort at Texas City on March 28.
“Health district officials visited The Resort at Texas City on Saturday and from what we saw, they were following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Keiser said.
Keiser has issued a Public Health Order enforcing restrictions on all Galveston County long-term facilities as a result of the outbreak.
The order requires all long-term care facilities to follow guidance issued by the CDC, and facilities with positive COVID-19 residents are required to notify relatives and, at the very least, put a sign on the front door letting the public know there is an infected resident within the facility, he said.
The health district didn’t disclose how many of the 83 are residents and how many are employees, only that both residents and employees had tested positive.
Under the Public Health Order, long-term care facilities will not be allowed to take residents outside the facility except for emergency transfers to a hospital or to a dialysis center, Keiser said.
Additionally, long-term care facilities, under the order, will not be allowed to share employees who work at a facility where a patient has tested positive for COVID-19.
Keiser said the district was aware that this facility, like many others, employs a number of part-time health care workers who also work at other facilities.
Keiser suggested the COVID-19 emergency might encourage long-term care nursing facilities to hire more employees full-time and rely less on part-time employees who work multiple jobs.
Hospitals around the county are preparing for the possible admission of some of the positive patients at The Resort at Texas City if and when they become sicker, Keiser said. He estimated “a couple” of residents are already in area hospitals.
The Resort at Texas City consists of five hallways arranged like spokes in a wheel, and the district has recommended that all positive COVID-19 cases be isolated on one of the hallways, away from the rest of the population.
“We’re requiring that all staff wear personal protective equipment,” Keiser said. “We’re in contact with them numerous times of the day. We are in very close contact with them, and we’re telling them that it’s their duty to keep in touch with family members.”
The health district will continue investigating connections among employees working at The Resort at Texas City who may work at other long-term care facilities, Keiser said.