COVID 19 Update #12 – May 26, 2020
San Antonio/Bexar County reported 2,442 confirmed cases of COVID 19 with 69 deaths as of May 24. The San Antonio Stay Home, Work Safe proclamation has been extended through June 4 and Blue Skies of Texas reminds employees and residents to be safe and consider risks as we travel outside of our homes: remain vigilant regarding preventative measures.
Each week you will see additional services at Blue Skies of Texas begin to resume with modifications. Keep in mind, modifications and “easing” back into services and activities must be done in a safe and prudent manner to keep everyone healthy.
Mandatory Nursing Home Testing
Last week, we provided an update as it relates to Governor Abbott’s mandatory testing of all nursing home staff and residents. This action is being managed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and to date, nearly half of San Antonio’s nursing homes have been tested. 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 The Mission and The Vista has been scheduled and will take place on Friday, 29 May 2020. Test results are expected to be available in 72 hours from date of testing and all appropriate parties will be notified of results as they are received.
The Mission and The Vista will have staff contingency plans in place in the event asymptomatic staff (without signs or symptoms of COVID 19) test positive and are required to be quarantined at home for 10 to 14 days.
Recent reports support the possibility of COVID 19 transmission (passing the virus from one person to another) could come from an asymptomatic person. These reports are preliminary and there is still much to be learned about this virus, but the one thing we do know: the value of community interventions to slow the spread of COVID 19 is vital. These include social distancing, wearing face masks and hand hygiene. Do not let your guard down.
Blue Skies of Texas COVID Unit
As a reminder, 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 ensure safe and effective care for individuals recovering from COVID 19, while protecting the remaining households.
The Mission’s COVID 19 unit was activated last week with the arrival of a Veteran recovering from COVID 19. Exercising this unit remains critical 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 is being closely monitored by Blue Skies of Texas leadership, San Antonio Metro Health and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Capacity will be managed, just as it is across all our healthcare facilities, to ensure our residents will have priority status if needed.