Friday, April 24, 2020

Houston Health Department expanding nursing home COVID-19 outreach

The Houston Health Department is expanding its efforts to protect nursing homes, assisted living centers and similar facilities against COVID-19.

The health department is visiting more than 300 such facilities in Houston to provide comprehensive education and technical assistance. The department trained 20 Houston Fire Department firefighters to assist with the visits.

“Although COVID-19 is an equal opportunity virus that can affect anyone, we know older adults and people with underlying medical conditions experience the worst outcomes, including death,” said Dr. David Persse, local health authority for the Houston Health Department. 

The visits include an assessment tool focusing on resident and employee screening and monitoring, personal protective equipment, infection control, environmental cleaning and education.

The plan is the latest step in the health department’s ongoing outreach for the facilities. The department previously collaborated with the SouthEast Regional Advisory Council (SERAC) on a webinar, completed telephone assessments with nursing homes, and provides additional guidance upon request.

As of April 20, there were 11 Houston nursing homes and assisted living centers with more than one COVID-19 case and seven facilities with one case each.
When there is a COVID-19 case at such a facility, the Houston Health Department also provides CDC guidance on communicating to residents, friends, families and volunteers.