AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Health and Human Services is providing guidance to licensed long-term care facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
To date, there have been no confirmed novel coronavirus cases that have originated in Texas, says Texas HHS.
“While the risk of coronavirus infection in Texas remains low, we’re preparing for the potential spread of the virus within long-term care settings where older residents are particularly vulnerable to disease,” said David Kostroun, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Regulatory Services. “We are taking simple, but effective precautions and providing guidance to the facilities we regulate to help protect long-term care residents, employees and visitors from respiratory illness.”
To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends facilities such as nursing and assisted living facilities use the same general strategies used to detect and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like the flu.
Long-term care facilities in Texas are required to maintain infection prevention and control programs to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, says Texas HHS. Facilities are required to report any suspected outbreaks to the local health department or the Department of State Health Services.
Texas HHS is also encouraging facilities to post signs instructing people not to visit if they have symptoms of any respiratory illness. Long-term care facilities should also ensure sick leave policies allow employees to stay home when ill, monitor and isolate residents with fever or acute respiratory symptoms to their rooms, provide infection control training, require frequent handwashing, and provide the right supplies for personal protective equipment.
If a facility believes a resident, visitor or employee may have been exposed or infected with COVID-19, they should contact their local health department or DSHS. Texas HHS says it is currently developing additional infection control guidance for licensed health care facilities, child care operations, and other regulated entities.
Texas HHS says it is working closely with DSHS, the Texas Department of Emergency Management and other agencies to monitor and assess the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
Visit the DSHS website and the CDC page for up-to-date information on COVID-19.