Updated at 4:55 p.m. April 24: This story was updated to include a ninth coronavirus-related death at the facility.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is investigating a McKinney senior living facility with nine COVID-19-related deaths among its residents.

The purpose of the state investigation is to assess the facility's compliance with all relevant health and safety rules, according to Christine Mann, the chief press officer for the commission. The Oxford Grand Assisted Living and Memory Care is located on Orchid Drive near Eldorado Parkway and Hardin Boulevard.

“We are focusing in particular on the facility’s infection control practices; whether it has been properly screening all staff and providers of critical services to residents; and whether it has been following all COVID-19 related guidance from our state and federal partners, which includes the proper use of personal protection equipment for staff and residents,” Mann said in an email.

With the nine deaths from the facility, McKinney has more COVID-19 related deaths than any other city in Collin County. The county's total number of deaths in connection with the coronavirus as of April 24 was 14.

Officials said five employees at the senior living facility have tested positive for the virus. All 13 residents who had tested positive for the virus have been placed in the facility’s memory care area and separated from other assisted living residents, officials said.

“Families have been extremely supportive of the precautions we are taking and the staff who are caring for their loved ones each day,” Coryanne Graham with The Oxford Grand stated in an email. “Our team is grateful for the emails, gifts and notes of support we have received during the past several weeks."

Mayor George Fuller said he had been alerted to the facility's first death in March but had not known the location of the city's other virus-related deaths.

“I did not know anything about the seven deaths coming in that one facility myself until yesterday. The Collin County Health Department doesn’t give us the addresses or any personal information,” Fuller said on April 22.

He said the news that more deaths came from that location “floored” him.

“When we were made aware that there was an issue at that particular place, we immediately contacted them,” Fuller said. “We got our [emergency management] staff and our fire department in touch with the facility, we obtained [personal protective equipment] for them ... we put our medical director to work with their team. We just helped in every which way we can. And of course, it's a state-run and state-licensed facility. So the state came in and inspected. Up until yesterday this was just a nursing home that we knew has a case test positive.”

Since the Texas Health and Human Services Commission began its inspection, Fuller said the city has reached out to the facility and asked to be kept updated on the situation.

“Remember, that's a state-licensed, state-governed facility, so it's not the city that empowers them or regulates them. It's the state,” Fuller said. “All we can do is as a city is say, ‘We are here. We want to help.’”

For its part, The Oxford Grand is working to follow all guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in addition to the state's regulations, Graham said. It has implemented building-wide precautions that include:

  • Staff are screened as they enter the building. Residents are also being screened for any signs or symptoms of the virus three times each day.

  • Staff are wearing personal protective equipment.

  • The facility has implemented social distancing, canceled events and eliminated communal dining.

  • Visitors have been prohibited in the building since mid-March unless a family needs to see someone for any end-of-life situation.

  • The frequency of sanitizing surfaces throughout the building has increased, and staff and assisted living residents have been educated about hand-washing and social distancing.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission is providing guidance to nursing home facilities across the state on how to respond to COVID-19 cases among residents, most of whom are at higher risk for the coronavirus because of their age and underlying health conditions. The commission is also requiring long-term care facilities to notify Health and Human Services and local health authorities of any presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 for a resident or staff, according to a news release.

As of April 9, more than 160 of the state’s 1,222 nursing homes reported at least one case of the new coronavirus, according to Community Impact Newspaper’s reporting partner The Texas Tribune.

Fuller said his first priority is to partner with The Oxford Grand and provide resources to help avoid further deaths. Then the city will look to finding out why the information was not shared sooner.

He said he hopes that any other senior living facilities in McKinney that have cases are able to communicate with the city and use its resources.

"We're all on the same team," Fuller said.