Nursing homes grapple with protecting vulnerable residents from COVID-19

(Designed by Ronald Winters)
(Designed by Ronald Winters)

(Designed by Ronald Winters)

Seniors and older adults with underlying medical conditions remain one of the highest-risk populations for COVID-19, making nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities places for the coronavirus to spread more easily.

Since the end of April, 98 cases have been affiliated with Brazoria County nursing homes, said Cathy Sbrusch, the county health department director. Because some of these cases are nursing home employees who are residents in other jurisdictions, not all of the 98 cases have been included in the county case count.

Windsong Care Center, a nursing home in Pearland, reported its first case April 30 when an employee tested positive, owner and administrator Vicki Morel said.

“We tested every employee who worked with her and her hall of residents and got six positive cases from that,” Morel said. “Our residents are basically on internal lockdown.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommend nursing homes have no visitors, communal dining or group activities. CDC and Brazoria County recommendations state facilities should retest all negative residents and staff once a week until 14 days pass with no new positive cases.


“The first round of testing the state did, but that’s only a one-time thing,” Morel said. “One-time testing isn’t helpful if this has been going on for months and will continue for months.”

Tuscany Village Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation is also located in Pearland. Administrator Cecil Barcelo Jr. said the facility decided to test residents before the state mandated it.

“The initial testing produced two positive patients, but our medical director was suspicious of those tests because there weren’t any signs or symptoms, so we retested and received negative results,” Barcelo Jr. said.

Morel said people should stay aware COVID-19 is still a pressing issue.

A lot of people’s perception is that this isn’t real, but it is,” she said.
By Morgan Slutzky
Morgan is the reporter for the Pearland and Friendswood newspaper. She joined Community Impact in 2019 after graduating from Temple University with a degree in journalism. Her primary area of coverage is education, but she also writes about local events and businesses.


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