COVID 19 Update #15

Blue Skies of Texas (BST)

COVID 19 Update

June 20, 2020


San Antonio/Bexar County reported 5,962 confirmed cases of COVID 19 with 96 deaths as of June 20. Numbers in San Antonio and surrounding Bexar County are rising quickly as the San Antonio Stay Home, Work Safe proclamation has been lifted and people are venturing outside of their home. The rise in cases reminds us we must remain vigilant, exercise preventative measures, and consider the risk as we travel outside of our home.

COVID 19 Positive Cases

Blue Skies of Texas had hoped we would not have to post this update: Two Food Service employees at the west campus have tested positive for COVID 19, as well as one nurse at The Vista (our skilled nursing facility on the West campus).  In full disclosure, one additional person, a part-time employee assigned to the East campus also reported a positive COVID 19 test; however, this part-time employee had not worked at/or visited Blue Skies for many weeks, and this will not impact operations.

We have responded in accordance with our COVID 19 Pandemic Response Plan and in close coordination with the San Antonio (SA) Metro Health Department. The COVID 19 alert level has been elevated from Yellow to Orange on both campuses. 

The Food Service employees had NO contact with any residents and COVID 19 is NOT a food borne virus. Nonetheless, deep cleaning and disinfecting of the work area by professionals was accomplished immediately.  Working closely with San Antonio (SA) Metro Health, we conducted contact tracing and determined the two Food Service employees interacted with only 6 other Food Service employees.  These individuals are being tested and isolated in accordance with SA Metro Health protocols.

As reported above, a Licensed Vocational Nurse assigned to the Vista has also tested positive for COVID 19.  The nurse last worked on 18 Jun, began feeling ill on 19 Jun and was tested/received results on the same day.  The facility was immediately deep cleaned and disinfected by professionals.  In close coordination with SA Metro Health, our staff is outfitted in full PPE (personal protective equipment) and residents are being isolated and will be tested soon.

To recap, two Food Service employees and one nurse at the West campus have tested positive for COVID 19.  An additional part-time employee reported that they had tested positive for COVID 19; however, this part-time employee has not been working or on campus for many weeks.   

Stay Home, Work Safe Order Expires

Last week, Blue Skies of Texas began “opening” the campuses to visitors with restrictions in place to keep residents safe.  However, San Antonio and Bexar County are experiencing significant increases in the number of coronavirus cases and this increase has caused us to reverse course. Effective 22 Jun 2020, both Blue Skies of Texas east and west campuses are closed to visitors.

We apologize in advance to residents and family who will be impacted by this change.

Travel Outside of Blue Skies of Texas

As of June 5, 2020: Residents planning to travel outside of the San Antonio community, may be required to stay at home (quarantine) for at least 14 days if the situation warrants self-isolation. Residents are asked to provide the community with travel plans so appropriate precautions can be implemented if required. To protect all, the community asks residents to provide details to include destination, mode of travel, planned activities and precautions used during travel. Travel via airplane will require home quarantine for at least 14 days.

Mandatory Nursing Home Testing

The plan to test all residents and employees of The Mission and The Vista, per Governor Abbott’s mandatory testing of all nursing home staff and residents, was carried out on Friday, 29 May 2020. All test results for The Mission were returned with no positive cases and The Vista had received 50% of test results with no positive cases. Significant delays in receiving results is an issue across the State.

Licensed Health Care Facility Visitor Restrictions

While Texas is “re-opening” and Blue Skies starts to slowly resume limited activities, all licensed health care facilities (The Mission, The Vista, Arnold House, Liberty House and Freedom House) remain closed to visitors. Our licensed health care facilities fall under state and federal authority, restricting visitors until further notice.  While the restrictions are difficult for families and loved ones, they are in place to protect those most vulnerable. State leaders are collaborating with survey agencies and local and state health departments to determine best course of action in relaxing restrictions. Careful review of many factors to include cases of COVID 19 in the surrounding community, case status in nursing homes, staffing levels, access to adequate testing, ability to maintain source control (use of masks by staff, visitors and residents), access to adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and local hospital capacity, will guide decisions.  It is most likely a “phased” approach will be taken. Blue Skies of Texas is keeping a close eye on development of “re-opening” of our nursing homes/skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care facilities. Recent increase in positive cases across Bexar County will have an impact on whether our facilities are able to loosen restrictions or not.

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