A surge response team, activated by state officials when there is a strong rise in COVID-19 cases, is currently set up in Marshall next to the Marshall Manor West nursing home facility.
“We are actively investigating at this facility to assess compliance with all relevant health and safety rules. It’s our understanding the tent outside of this facility is there to assist with potential needs of additional resources in the nursing facility,” Assistant Press Officer Danielle Pestrikoff with Texas Health and Human Services stated.
Numbers of positive COVID-19 cases have not been released by the nursing home to the public and calls to the facility have gone unreturned. According to information released by Dr. Ricky Paul, Marshall-Harrison County Health Authority with the health district last week, Marshall had a total of 50 cases located in nursing homes and assisted living facilities within the city.
County Judge Chad Sims stated that the response teams are not something the county asked for but rather are activated by the Health and Human Services Department when they see a strong rise in the number of cases.
According to information released in a state press conference May 5, a surge response team was deployed to Marshall May 4, and surge teams were deployed in Marshall May 2 and April 30. A surge team also responded to Carthage in Panola county April 28. All surge teams are classified as being on site to help with assessments, according to the data released by the governor’s office.
The teams are comprised of health officials, emergency response workers and the National Guard that will help throughout the state as ‘flare ups’ of coronavirus occur. The surge teams can aid at a variety of facilities including meat packing plants, long-term care facilities, prisons and even entire zipcodes identified as ‘hot spots’ if needed.
Official team members, according to Gov. Abbott, include people from the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Military Department, Health and Human Services Commission, Department of State Health Services, Texas Emergency Medical Task Force and BCFS Health and Human Services.
“We are going in to identify every single person who tests positive in those facilities,” Abbott said in the press conference. The governor stated another part of the surge teams will be to make sure all facilities and persons inside have the access to the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that they need.
Total PPE distribution both from the state and from federal resources such as FEMA from March 1 to May 1 include more than 53 million masks, 2.4 million face shields, 777 million gloves and 14.5 million gowns.
Another part of the governor’s plan is to launch 250 Texas National Guard personnel in support of care facilities including facility disinfection teams. Teams will be based across Texas serving the eight Emergency Medical Task Force regions.
As of Wednesday, according to information released by the state health and human service commission, there are 260 nursing facilities throughout the state that have at least one positive case of COVID-19 either in a resident or employee and 93 assisted living facilities. There have been 354 resident deaths in the state in nursing homes and 83 resident deaths in assisted living centers.
Throughout the state, there are 1,224 licensed nursing facilities and 2,004 licensed assisted living facilities.