SAN ANTONIO — While many San Antonians see COVID-19 as a thing of the past, Texas nursing homes have consistently seen cases in both residents and staff.
Now the communities inside those nursing homes are seeing an explosion of cases and San Antonio is no exception.
On Nov. 3, Texas Nursing Facilities were actually seeing a decrease of cases from earlier in the year. Texas Heath and Human Services data showed only 812 cases across the state. By Dec. 29, there were 2,768 cases.
In Bexar County the spike was even greater. At the beginning of November the state was reporting only 3 cases across the entire county. At the end of December there was 181 cases. That included 122 residents with the COVID-19 virus and 59 employees.
San Antonians can see the latest totals, per nursing home facility, by going to this site and clicking on the "NF Facility Report" link.
At the time this article was posted two specific county facilities made up more than 40 percent of resident cases. Legend Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation (2003 W Hutchins Place) had 29 current active cases and Windemere at Westover Hills had 24 active cases.
Texas Healthcare Association President and CEO Kevin Warren told KENS 5 nursing homes are still dealing with the virus every day and must still follow masking protocols and other measures to try and keep their residents safe.
"It's still a real concern that these buildings are having to watch for every single day," Warren said. "That's why it's so important that if you are visiting a facility or a loved one, keep in mind that the protocols are still important. You could still bring COVID into their community."
University Hospital Epidemiologist Jason Bowling told KENS 5 it's also easier for cases to snowball in such facilities because residents have less immunity and can more severe symptoms that spread the virus.
"One you have people that are living close to each other, right? Secondly they are people who are at higher risk for the disease, and then many of them have underlying medical conditions which make them at higher risk for having more significant disease...More symptoms more often," Bowling said.
Warren said the Texas Healthcare Association is constantly encouraging facilities to get their staff and residents the latest COVID-19 vaccines available. He said the facilities also need the support of their community to prevent more cases going forward.
"What's important is that families and visitors and others that come into these communities are aware of that and make sure that they are taking the same preventions and precautions so that they don't inadvertently transmit something to somebody, " Warren said.