The company that owns a nursing home in Alamo has confirmed that at least five people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility.
Touchstone Communities, which owns and operates The Heights of Alamo Nursing Home, released a statement Friday confirming that four residents and one employee tested positive for the virus.
“ Our residents and team members continue to do well in the midst of COVID-19, and there is no evidence the virus is spreading in our community,” Dr. Melody Chatelle, community spokesperson on behalf of The Heights of Alamo, said in a statement. “As a part of the Governor’s directive for full testing of skilled nursing facility residents and staff, which we fully support, we recently learned that four residents and an individual team member from our community have tested positive for COVID-19 despite showing no symptoms.”
“ The residents are doing well in a special dedicated area and the team member continues to recuperate away from our community,” the statement continued. “Our thoughts remain with these individuals. As we move forward, we will continue to follow the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and work closely with local health authorities on this matter, and we appreciate everyone’s ongoing support.”
Carlos Sanchez, division director of public affairs for Hidalgo County, explained that anytime there is a cluster of any type of infection, the county’s epidemiologists will investigate the contacts those positive cases have had.
He said since this particular cluster of confirmed cases is stemming from a nursing home, it will prompt epidemiologists to investigate at a quicker rate.
“ When there’s a cluster that is readily identifiable — I don’t know that there is any different protocol if it entails something like a nursing home, but there is a more aggressive movement when it entails a cluster,” Sanchez said.
“ The notion of a cluster of patients or positive individuals just raises the stakes in terms of our desire to move quickly to stem the contact that exists between the cluster so that you don’t have additional community spread.”
On May 11, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and the Texas Department of State Health Services to test all residents and staff of Texas nursing homes.
Sanchez said the county is nearing completion of testing local nursing home residents and staff for the virus.
“ It entails upwards of several thousand tests,” Sanchez said. “If you’re talking five (confirmed cases) out of several thousand, that actually is encouraging news. Although it doesn’t mitigate the concerns that exist with any one cluster.”