April 23, 2020 (Williamson County, TX) -- The Williamson County Health Authority issued initial control orders on March 16 for nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities to reinforce protections against COVID-19 among residents and staff. The orders required restrictions on visitors, temperature and symptom checks for staff and residents, along with recommending more stringent cleaning and use of personal protective equipment and signage.
Teams from the Williamson County EMS Community Health Paramedic (CHP) unit have been visiting facilities to answer questions, check on PPE supplies, complete site assessments, and to be a point of contact for information and support in the event an outbreak occurs.
To date, there have been no outbreaks at any Williamson County facilities.
"Nursing home staff provide care for our most vulnerable citizens," said Dr. Lori Palazzo, Williamson County Health Authority. "Prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities require an intense focus on infection prevention practices. In order to protect those most vulnerable to this disease, it is vital that the updated control orders be followed.”
Hearthstone Nursing & Rehabilitation Center of Round Rock also opened the first Secure Isolation Unit in Williamson County so that the area would have the healthcare beds needed to serve senior patients with COVID-19 as they discharge from area hospitals.
Updated control orders are expected to be sent out today to align with updated CDC and State guidelines:
· all individuals entering the facility must wear a surgical face mask or cloth face covering,
· only visitors providing critical assistance should be permitted into the facility, and the facility may not admit any individual to the facility with a temperature of 99.6 ◦F or above,
· the facility must screen each resident at least once each shift for COVID-19 symptoms, including cough, fever, and shortness of breath,
· positive case notification guidelines
Site assessments conducted by the Williamson County EMS Community Health Paramedic (CHP) unit are planned to continue until the pandemic is deemed under control.
For more information on the COVID-19, including daily case counts, go to www.wcchd.org/covid-19 or www.wilco.org/coronavirus.