Olton care center ‘frustrated’ with lack of COVID-19 testing assistance

Olton care center ‘frustrated’ with lack of COVID-19 testing assistance
Update on the COVID-19 cases on the South Plains (Source: KCBD NewsChannel 11)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Administrators at an Olton care center are “frustrated” with a lack of COVID-19 testing assistance from Texas Health and Human Services, saying “no testing has been made available when we needed it most.”

According to Administrators at The Runningwater Draw Care Center, “Our biggest frustration through this whole process is the lack of testing assistance from the Texas Health and Human Services. The facility-wide testing they did one time months ago was to develop a “base-line” evaluation for their purposes. We all tested negative at that time. No testing has been made available when we needed it most – once we developed our first COVID cases. Had we known they would not be helping in testing, we would have initiated a contract with a lab sooner, as well as started testing sooner after the first positive employee. We continued to hear on the national news that testing would be provided for anyone that wanted it; made available to nursing homes; free to all. None of that has been true.”

As well as lacking assistance with the testing they have done, they say testing has not been required by regulation, so they could’ve chosen not to test and case positive numbers would look better, but they say they are committed to the health of the residents:

“I realize now we could have chosen not to test, then we wouldn’t have had any positive cases to report – other than the staff that tested themselves at their doctor’s office. If our focus had been to protect our reputation rather than the health of our residents, we would not have done our own testing. Self testing is not required by regulation. So the next time you hear “authorities” are testing in nursing homes, you can be assured it is the authorities of the facility – not that of our state’s health department.”

The Lamb County nursing and rehab facility is reporting 51 residents and 17 staff total have tested positive for COVID-19 over the extent of the pandemic, with one case currently hospitalized and one recently discharged from the hospital.

Staff says the CDC has moved to a non-test based strategy when removing a resident from transmission considerations, so they are assuming all residents are no longer considered contagious after 20 days from a positive test date. The 20 day guidance is for severe to critical illness and/or immunocompromised residents and staff.

One case among the residents is no longer active, as well as four cases among the staff. According to their website, there have been six deaths as of July 24.

Staff at the facility say they are retesting some residents after 17 days to see if they are now testing negative.

The care center announced on July 22 they have set up an air purification system in order to fight the disease. According to their website: “This system provides air purification through a process called photocatalytic oxidation. Different from air filtration, this process decomposes the cells in airborne contaminates such as bacteria cells, mold spores, and viruses. The titanium dioxide photocatalyst has been found to be more effective than any other antibacterial agent. Generally speaking, conversions by titanium dioxide are three times stronger than chlorine and 1.5 times stronger than ozone.”

The facility is also looking to cover the positions of staff who are now out sick, asking for help from those interested in employment or volunteering.

You can find more information at the Runningwater Draw Care Center website, here.

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