HOUSTON (AP) — More than 3,000 nursing home residents in Texas have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data released by the state on Friday.
The 3,000 positive tests represent about 4% of the estimated number of Texans living in nursing homes, the Houston Chronicle reported. By comparison, about 0.15% of Texas residents have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday ordered coronavirus testing for all Texas nursing home residents and staff after the White House urged governors to do so as deaths mount nationwide.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
More than 26,000 residents and staff have died from outbreaks of the virus at the nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities, according to an AP tally based on state health departments and media reports. That is about a third of all 76,000 deaths in the U.S. that have been attributed to the virus.
While nursing home residents in Texas make up around 6% of the state’s positive cases, they account for about 38% of the state’s deaths related to COVID-19, the newspaper reported.
The numbers for nursing homes that the state has released are broken down by region, but advocates and family members have been calling for more detailed information that shows cases by specific facility or at least by county.
“We’d like to see more transparency where the cases are,” said Amanda Fredriksen, associate state director for advocacy and outreach at AARP Texas. “And in seeing more testing going forward, especially as the state continues to open up.”
Texas has more than 45,100 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus and at least 1,272 deaths linked to it. The true numbers are likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.