Brazos County health officials applaud mandatory nursing home testing

Posted at 5:30 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 18:33:11-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — With nursing homes being a hot spot for COVID-19 cases, Governor Greg Abbott has issued a new directive to test all residents and staff in Texas facilities.

In the Brazos Valley, nursing homes like the Waterford at College Station have had multiple residents and staff test positive for COVID-19.

Now, Brazos County medical officials are applauding the Governors mandate to require testing.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have been directed to test 100% of residents and staff in Texas nursing homes.

“I love it. I think it’s a great idea," says Dr. Seth Sullivan with Brazos County Health District. "I think that it shows that the strategy is aligned and makes sense.”

Dr. Sullivan says testing ensures those needing protection are being protected.

“Our goal and our effort has to be to protect the vulnerable around this and the vulnerable I’m talking about, those in long-term care facilities particularly.”

Congressman Bill Flores applauded the Governor saying “I support Governor Abbott’s efforts to consult with public health experts, including those with the white house coronavirus taskforce as he works to re-open the Texas economy. Hardworking Texans are eager to safely get back to work."

Another elected official fighting for the elderly is state Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who is supporting the initiative for widespread testing to help eliminate the spread.

“I fully support Governor Abbott’s and Vice President Pence’s initiative to test all residents and staff in Texas nursing homes. Many of the ‘hot spots’ across our state have developed in congregate care facilities and this initiative for widespread testing will help contain and eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in our nursing homes,” Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst said.

But David Aguirre, whose mother was a resident of the Waterford at College Station and died of COVID-19, is still coming to terms with her death.

"They did what they could based on what they had and what they knew at the time,” says Aguirre.

As more cases are confirmed, health officials stress that protecting the vulnerable is top priority for Brazos County and the state of Texas.

Dr. Sullivan speaks with Brazos Valley nursing home administrators twice a week to review testing and supplies as the county works to protect the vulnerable.