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14 residents, employees test positive at Houston senior living facility

The Buckingham off Woodway has eight residents and two employees with the novel coronavirus.

HOUSTON — A senior living facility in Houston has quarantined some residents after multiple employees and residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In an updated memo posted online today, The Buckingham said 14 people have tested positive, including nine residents and five staff members.

In all, 116 people in the facility have been tested. Twenty-eight residents and 11 employees have tested negative.

The facility is located in west Houston off Woodway near Westheimer and South Voss.

All positive cases have come from one area of the facility known as The Plaza, said Executive Director James Kneen in that Thursday evening memo, an area that provides around-the-clock skilled-nursing care. The Plaza is currently under quarantine and staff caring for infected residents are wearing personal protection equipment.

“There is some reason to believe these cases are contained to one portion of the community,” Kneen said in a memo Thursday. “I know these are uncertain times, and it’s that much more impactful with the virus in our community. Please rest assured we continue to take every step and measure we can to mitigate further exposure and risk to The Buckingham family.”

The Houston Health Department said it's been in direct contact with the facility and recommended all residents be tested.

In addition to quarantining the affected area, the facility is requiring everyone wear masks and has halted all new admissions. It’s also suspended all group activities and resident gatherings.

“The Buckingham team will remain aggressive in its testing procedures and methodology,” Kneen said. “We are cautiously optimistic regarding the number of negative test results but remain vigilant and focused on the safety and health of residents and employees.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference today that he's asking all senior living faciilites in the city to limit employees to working at one facility. He also wants all employees to have their temperatures checked before their shifts and wear masks for their entire shift.

There have been two other COVID-19 outbreaks at senior living centers in Greater Houston. The Resort in Texas City had 83 residents and employees test positive for the virus. The other is Park Manor at Quail Valley in Missouri City, which had 28 cases.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, headaches and stomach issues.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

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