LUBBOCK, Texas — The City of Lubbock Health Department reported a coronavirus outbreak at Heritage Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation after five residents died due to COVID-19 complications.

“Things were quiet over the summer and now we’ve seen another spike,” Katherine Wells, Director of Public Health for the City of Lubbock, said.

A spokesperson for Heritage Oaks said 34 residents currently have the virus, 20 of which are asymptomatic. An additional eight are in the hospital.

“We have more virus circulating out in the community which means we have greater likelihood of somebody working in one of these facilities becoming positive,” Wells said. “It’s really hard to tell and right now it’s really working to control any further spread.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Heritage Oaks said they implemented a number of precautions to prevent the spread, such as creating a separate wing for patients who test positive, screening employees upon entering, and hiring a certified infection preventionist. The Lubbock Health Department helps where they can as well.

“Working on getting additional testing within the facility, there’s also resources now to have additional cleaning crews come in and do really deep cleaning,” Wells said.

The following is a statement from Heritage Oaks:

At the beginning of this pandemic, we implemented a number of measures, special processes, and extraordinary precautions at Heritage Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. To help prevent the spread: 

  • We set up a separate and isolated unit within the building for residents that test positive to provide them the best care and to protect others. 
  • We have employees dedicated only for this unit and they are equipped with proper PPE, and they enter and exit through a completely separate doorway from the rest of the center. 
  • We screen all employees upon entrance to the center for any signs/symptoms of infection.
  • We hired a full-time certified infection preventionist. 
  • We have disinfected the entire facility.
  • We have a medical director on staff that monitors residents’ symptoms around the clock.  

Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our employees and all those who live and are cared for at Heritage Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. We know this is a very challenging and scary situation for our residents, their families and our employees. We will continue to work every day to provide the very best care and support for our residents at Heritage Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation. It is heartbreaking when a resident who has been in our care passes away we extend our deepest condolences to their loved ones. COVID-19 is a terrible disease and has already taken too many lives across our state and nation.

Finally, we have reported all positive cases to public health officials, and we are managing our response and family communication in coordination with local officials.  If any family members have concerns or questions, we would ask them to call and speak directly with our Director of Nursing at (806) 795-8792 to ensure their concerns are addressed.