The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is expanding COVID-19 testing to all patients, residents and staffers at the 23 state-operated inpatient psychiatric hospitals and living centers throughout Texas.
“By expanding widespread COVID-19 testing to our state hospitals and state-supported living centers, we are better equipped to identify and mitigate these potential hot spots and protect our most vulnerable populations,” said Gov. Greg Abbott.
The commission operates 13 state-supported living centers that provide 24-hour residential care, medical services and vocational training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The agency also operates 10 state hospitals that provide acute inpatient psychiatric care for adults, children and adolescents.
“Many patients and residents in our care are medically fragile and rely on our frontline health care heroes for the important care they receive. By expanding testing to everyone in our facilities, we will increase our ability to further protect everyone who lives and works in our facilities and prevent the spread of the virus throughout our system,” said HHSC Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson.
This latest move expands testing to all of the nearly 23,000 patients, residents and staff at state-supported living centers and state hospitals. Previously, residents and patients were tested only if they displayed symptoms of COVID-19 or had possible exposure to the virus.
Testing kits are already on the way to the facilities, and several local health departments have offered their assistance.
As of Wednesday, a total of 161 patients and residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 107 individuals have recovered from the virus and fewer than 10 residents or patients have died. The latest data on COVID-19 cases at state hospitals and SSLCs can be found here.
All facilities continue to follow strict adherence to CDC guidelines. Staff are required to wear masks and are trained in infection control procedures, proper use of personal protective equipment and social distancing measures. Visitor restrictions remain in place, and HHSC continues to screen all employees for fever and respiratory illness symptoms prior to entering its facilities. Any person with a fever or unexplained signs of respiratory illness is not allowed entrance.
Last week, Abbott announced that all patients and employees of every nursing home in Texas would be tested.