The Williamson County and Cities Health District had its first confirmed cluster of COVID-19 in a nursing facility, the district announced April 25.

Executive Director of Williamson County and Cities Health District Derrick Neal said 46 positive cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the facility with at least one being a staff member. He added that the county has yet to receive the results from all the tests administered and anticipates a final count to come Monday.

“We are working closely with the facility to mitigate the spread among residents and staff by isolating positive residents,” Neal said. “We believe the planning and training by the health district and EMS staff to address situations such as these will be key in protecting our most vulnerable population.”

The exact facility was not identified, but Neal said it is a large facility with at least 200 beds. The county began testing individuals the evening of April 23 into April 24 once it became aware of two positive cases. Results were reported April 25, he said.

Neal added that at this time the facility believes it has enough space to isolate the confirmed cases from other residents. A total of 233 tests were administered with some tests coming back negative, he said. There has not been a coronavirus-related death tied to the cluster and this is the only nursing home currently impacted at this time, he said.

“Let's just stay vigilant and protect one another,” Neal said.

On April 23, the county also updated its control order for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing and long-term care facilities stipulating that if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a facility, all patients, staff and next of kin must be notified.

Neal said all families of those in the facility have been notified.

Additionally, in the event of a cluster at a facility involving two or more patients, the facility:

  • will be restricted from receiving any new patients into the facility or any returning patients to the facility until the facility has been cleared by the WCCHD.

  • will be required to make available for testing, if requested, all clinical staff, non-clinical staff, and contractors.

  • a “Strike Team” of additional personnel and equipment may be deployed to supplement staffing at your facility until the facility outbreak is controlled as determined by WCCHD.

Neal said the Strike Team of health care workers and epidemiologists continue to work on the case.

In March, Williamson County 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, county officials said.

“Our top priority, from the beginning, has been to protect our most vulnerable residents,” said County Judge Bill Gravell in an April 25 news release. “We are putting all of the resources we have available into isolating this cluster so that no others will be infected.”

The daily case count is available on the COVID-19 Dashboard that is updated each day shortly after noon at The Epi Curve on the dashboard shows the date of the onset of the disease and not the date reported.