New virus cases surging nationwide in nursing homes, Texas cases ballooning

State & Regional

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Cases of coronavirus are surging nationwide, and the load of new cases at senior care facilities has reached a new high. Meanwhile in Texas, the number of active cases in nursing homes is also ballooning, according to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the American Health Care Association.

Following a summer peak, new cases in Texas nursing facilities were trending downward until early October, but that positive trend reversed in mid-October, according to Texas Health and Human Services Commission data. HHSC’s latest case data lags by two weeks, so the most current records show case counts from the first days of November.

So long as there is unchecked community spread of the virus, cases in nursing homes will mirror proliferation at large, according to AHCA, which is an industry organization that backs nursing home corporations. AHCA has called on Congress to increase funding for nursing homes again, according to its news release.

“Our worst fears have come true as COVID runs rampant among the general population, and long term care facilities are powerless to fully prevent it from entering due to its asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread,” said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA and the National Center for Assisted Living, in a news release.

Texas nursing homes have been slammed by the virus. About 97% of the state’s nursing facilities have reported at least one case among staff or residents, and at least 4,951 nursing home residents have died of the disease.

Texas has just over 1,200 nursing homes. There have been nearly 40,000 cases in 1,176 of those locations, according to HHSC.

Heading into a potentially brutal winter for virus cases, the Midwest leads the country in new cases with a 200% spike of new weekly cases compared to mid September, according to an analysis by AHCA.

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