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Nursing homes taking precautions to prevent coronavirus

Posted at 8:13 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 22:22:51-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Local nursing homes are implementing a variety of methods in hopes of protecting their elderly patients -- a segment of the population that experts say is the most likely to die if infected with the coronavirus COVID 19.

"The fact is that our population is a vulnerable population," Heather Hunter of Brookdale Senior Living's Media Relations Department said. "We are doing everything we can in regard to prevention."

The company has nursing homes in more than 40 states including a facility in Downtown Corpus Christi. Hunter said the company watches closely for guidance from experts in each state.

"If the state issues a specific guideline, we're going to be complying with that," she said. "If that involves screening, we will follow that. If that involves limiting certain numbers of visitors we're following that as well."

Visitors who are sick or who have flu-like symptoms are not allowed in the nursing home right now. Brookdale also canceled group visitation and outings to limit the patients possible exposure to COVID 19.

At a press conference Wednesday, Corpus Christi's Director of Public Health Annette Rodriguez applauded those efforts and suggested more methods of protecting patients.

"(Nursing homes need to) make sure that (patients) are not all congregating together in the dining area," Rodriguez said. "(They should practice) social distancing. Certain staff (should only care) for certain people only so there's a lot of different things that we're suggesting to them. It depends on the set up of their facility."

Another facility is trying to keep COVID 19 away by monitoring workers at the beginning of their shifts.

"Every associate is now screened when they arrive for work, including checking temperature, to ensure no additional sickness is brought into our building," a statement from Alameda Oaks Nursing Center Executive Director Ron Browning said. "If they have a fever over 100.4, we send them home and ask they visit their personal physician."