COVID-19 confirmed at two more Austin nursing and assisted living facilities

AUSTIN (KXAN) – KXAN confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday at two more Austin nursing and assisted living facilities – Brookdale Beckett Meadows and Barton Hills Assisted Living.

The latest two facilities, which are not associated with one another, are the eighth and ninth Austin-area senior facilities to confirm cases of the virus to KXAN. COVID-19 is most dangerous for the elderly and people with existing health problems, according to the CDC, and nearly a half-million people nationwide have confirmed cases.

Brookdale spokesperson Heather Hunter said “more than one” person at Brookdale Beckett Meadow tested positive for the virus. It is not clear if the affected people were residents or workers. The facility, which has 95 beds according to HHSC, is in southwest Austin.

“We are diligently monitoring our residents and associates for signs and symptoms, and we continue to work directly with local health officials to help ensure our residents and associates have the appropriate and necessary medical support,” Hunter said in a prepared statement.

At Barton Hills Assisted Living, a 35-bed facility in the Zilker neighborhood in south Austin, a company leader said one staff member was confirmed with the virus. Faez Khan said the staffer began feeling ill, was sent home and tested positive for COVID-19 a week later.

“In accordance with the CDC, Austin Public Health and Texas Health and Human Services guidelines, we have changed our operations to create distance among residents and staff, limited the number of entry points, and require that all permitted visitors go through additional screenings and hygiene procedures 4 weeks ago,” Khan said in an email. “We will continue to monitor our residents’ condition and keep their loved ones updated every step of the way.”

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees nursing and assisted living facilities, said 162 of the state’s 1,222 nursing facilities – or 13 % – have confirmed a case of COVID-19. There have also been 33 confirmed cases in the state’s 2,002 assisted living centers. As of Friday, 47 COVID-19 deaths related to nursing and assisted living centers statewide were reported to HHSC.

KXAN asked for a list of specific senior facilities that have reported COVID-19 cases, but HHSC said it is “prohibited by law” from releasing that level of health information. HHSC said it, and the Department of State Health Services, are not keeping data on virus testing at nursing and assisted living facilities, according to spokesperson Christine Mann.

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