COVID 19 Update #11 – May 18, 2020
San Antonio/Bexar County reported 2,120 confirmed cases of COVID 19 with 62 deaths as of May 17. While the San Antonio Stay Home, Work Safe proclamation is due to expire on May 19, Blue Skies reminds employees and residents to be safe and consider risks as we begin to travel outside of our homes: remain vigilant regarding preventative measures. Maintain social distancing, wear a mask in public, wash hands often and take quick action should you experience any signs or symptoms of COVID 19.
Several services have resumed at Blue Skies and more restrictions should be lifted over the next several weeks. All activities are modified to protect residents and employees with guidelines posted to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Mandatory Nursing Home Testing
In response to a recommendation from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to develop a plan to test 100% of residents and staff in all Texas nursing homes. This update explains how this direction applies to Blue Skies of Texas.
Nursing Homes are also called skilled nursing facilities. At Blue Skies of Texas, we have two skilled nursing facilities, the Mission at Blue Skies east campus and the Vista at west. This new directive addresses nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities only and does not include, at this time, assisted living (Arnold House and Liberty House) or memory care facilities (Freedom House).
The plan to test all residents and employees of these facilities, including The Mission and The Vista, is being developed. We anticipate the state will adopt a tiered approach starting with those facilities most at risk (already identified cases of COVID-19) and we will notify you with details when they become available. We expect our skilled nursing facilities will be tested within the next few weeks.
Blue Skies of Texas COVID Unit
In preparation for potential positive COVID 19 cases among our residents, Blue Skies of Texas established a COVID 19 unit at The Mission. The Mission was selected due to its ability to segregate COVID 19 cases in a single household. Detailed protocols include separate entry/exit, dedicated staff, sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory and infection control guidelines were developed. These guidelines (as well as the facility) have been reviewed by San Antonio Metro Health and Texas Health and Human Services Commission and found to be well developed to ensuring safe and effective care for individuals recovering from COVID 19, while protecting the remaining households.
The Mission’s COVID 19 unit will be activated this week as we anticipate the arrival of a small number of Veterans (sent by the VA) who are recovering from COVID 19. It is critical we exercise this unit to ensure the availability of safe and effective care should a Blue Skies of Texas resident require COVID 19 care in the future. Without a dedicated Blue Skies COVID 19 unit, any Blue Skies of Texas resident who tests positive and requires nursing care would be transferred to another nursing home in San Antonio with the capability of providing care. Currently, there is only one designated skilled nursing facility in San Antonio accepting COVID 19 residents and their capacity is near full. Utilization of the COVID 19 unit will be closely monitored by Blue Skies of Texas leadership, San Antonio Metro Health and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.