Lubbock deaths connected to nursing homes continue to rise


LUBBOCK, Texas — An additional coronavirus death was reported in Lubbock on Saturday, making the total number of deaths in the county 14. On Friday, 12 of 13 coronavirus-related deaths were connected to nursing homes.

As of Friday, approximately 49 percent of COVID-19 cases in Lubbock were related to nursing homes. A number of deaths are connected to Whisperwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, with their first confirmed case reported in late March.

“We are putting together plans to put in place a quarantine order on this facility,” Katherine Wells, director of public health for the City of Lubbock said during a press conference.

A total of 124 cases of the coronavirus are connected to nursing homes, out of 249 cases in the city, as of Friday.

In an interview Friday, Mayor Dan Pope said the spread of the coronavirus needs to be controlled, and the people need to be strong enough to come out of the situation.

“We have three thousand beds in our community–in either nursing homes or assisted living centers,” Pope said. “We have more than 3,500 people who work in those facilities. They don’t live in those facilities, they’re in there, and they’re back into the community. They’re in our grocery stores. They buy gas at the same gas pumps we buy gas.”

City officials have reviewed guidance from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services on long term care facilities, and how those facilities should deal with the coronavirus.

However, this is not only the case in Lubbock, but a growing trend across the state. More than 13 percent of nursing homes in Texas have at least one resident or staff member diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission reports that across Texas, 47 coronavirus deaths are related to nursing homes and assisted living centers.

In an interview with Friday, Governor Greg Abbott said this is a growing concern.

“We want to prevent the importation of COVID-19 into our nursing homes, but we’re also employing other strategies–making sure, in nursing homes in particular–we do more aggressive testing and isolation so that other residents in nursing homes will not be exposed to COVID-19,” Abbott said.

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