Williamson County updates orders on nursing home safety during coronavirus pandemic

Williamson County updated its orders on nursing home safety during the coronavirus pandemic April 23. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County updated its orders on nursing home safety during the coronavirus pandemic April 23. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Williamson County updated its orders on nursing home safety during the coronavirus pandemic April 23. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The Williamson County Health Authority announced an update its orders April 23 to align with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines on nursing home safety during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release.

The update includes orders that all individuals entering the facility must wear a surgical face mask or cloth face covering; only visitors providing critical assistance should be permitted into the facility; and the facility may not admit any individual to the facility with a temperature of 99.6 degrees F or above.

The facility must also screen each resident at least once each shift for coronavirus symptoms, including cough, fever and shortness of breath, it said. Additionally, facilities must follow positive case notification guidelines.

To date, there have been no outbreaks at any Williamson County facilities, the release said.

"Nursing home staff provide care for our most vulnerable citizens," said Dr. Lori Palazzo, Williamson County Health Authority, in the release. "Prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities require an intense focus on infection prevention practices. In order to protect those most vulnerable to this disease, it is vital that the updated control orders be followed.”


The health authority issued initial control orders March 16 for nursing homes, assisted-living and other long-term care facilities to reinforce protections against the novel coronavirus among residents and staff, the release said. The orders required restrictions on visitors, temperature and symptom checks for staff and residents and recommendations for more stringent cleaning and use of personal protective equipment and signage, it said.


Teams from the Williamson County EMS Community Health Paramedic unit have been visiting facilities to answer questions, to check on supplies of personal protective equipment, to complete site assessments and to be a point of contact for information and support in the event an outbreak occurs, the release said. This will continue until the pandemic is deemed under control, it said.

Williamson County also established a secure isolation unit at the Hearthstone Nursing & Rehabilitation Center of Round Rock to serve senior patients with coronavirus as they are discharged from area hospitals, the release said. So far, the unit has only been used by Travis County residents, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said.