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'We were turned down' | 28 coronavirus cases at Missouri City nursing home after staff says county denied requests for widespread testing

Park Manor at Quail Valley said 16 residents and 12 staff tested positive after they purchased private test kits on April 7.

MISSOURI CITY, Texas — A total of 28 people tested positive for coronavirus at a Missouri City nursing home after staff claim Fort Bend County Health and Human Services staff "turned down" their request for widespread testing at the facility.

Staff at Park Manor at Quail Valley said a resident tested positive for COVID-19 at a hospital on March 30.

"To effectively address the introduction of this virus into our population, we requested through local health authorities that all patients and staff be tested. Due to the lack of availability of test kits, we were turned down," HMG Healthcare CEO Derek Prince wrote in a statement.

On Friday, Dr. Jacquelyn Minter, local health uuthority and director of Fort Bend County Health and Human Services, issued the following statement in response to the nursing home's claims:

“Outbreaks of disease are especially concerning and upsetting for families who have loved ones and staff who work at long term care facilities. Fort Bend County Health & Human Services (HHS) places a high priority on protecting those most vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. Fort Bend County HHS follows the Texas Department of State Health Services’ guidance in the investigation of reported COVID-19 cases. We have and will continue to actively assist and advocate for all long-term care facilities in Fort Bend County during this global pandemic.”

Prince said the facility purchased test kits from a private contractor on April 7, and all patients and clinical staff were tested. 

“You go into this line of work committed to taking care of everyone and we wanted to make sure we could protect them," Leticia Caballero, director of government relations for HMG Healthcare, said.

When the results came back, 16 residents and 12 staff tested positive. 10 of the 16 residents are being treated at the hospital. The 6 others are being treated at the nursing home. The 12 staff are quarantined at home under the supervision of their primary care physicians, Prince wrote.

"It gave us information that we desperately needed," Caballero said. "It was hard to develop a plan of how to protect everyone, employees, residents, and patients without first knowing who was infected. ... The whole thought of waiting until someone exhibits symptoms for testing is proving to be almost too late."

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"We began specific measures to reduce the risk of this virus spreading through the facility on March 9th. Those measures included no visitors, no group activities, no communal dining, as well as increased employee monitoring including a travel ban," Prince wrote. "We remain committed to keeping our residents safe and protected during this novel virus and have been in contact with Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, with Ft. Bend County Health and Human Services, as well as the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. We will continue to work with local and state health officials as this situation progresses."

Park Manor at Quail Valley has 125 beds, according to government records.

Full statement from Derek Prince, president and CEO of HMG Healthcare on COVID-19 cases at Park Manor Quail Valley:

“Ensuring the health and safety of our nursing facility residents and employees is our greatest priority. We learned of our first confirmed case of COVID-19 in our Park Manor Quail Valley facility on Monday, March 30th. To effectively address the introduction of this virus into our population, we requested through local health authorities that all patients and staff be tested. Due to the lack of availability of test kits, we were turned down. The facility was able to purchase test kits from a private contractor on Tuesday, April 7th, and all patients and clinical staff were tested. The results of that testing confirmed that Park Manor Quail Valley has sixteen COVID-19 positive patients and twelve COVID-19 positive employees. Ten patients are receiving treatment in the hospital and 6 patients are being treated at the facility. Our twelve team members are under the supervision of their primary care physicians and are quarantined at home. We began specific measures to reduce the risk of this virus spreading through the facility on March 9th. Those measures included no visitors, no group activities, no communal dining, as well as increased employee monitoring including a travel ban. Our policies and procedures regarding COVID-19, including infection control, are based on CDC guidelines. We remain committed to keeping our residents safe and protected during this novel virus and have been in contact with Dr. Jacquelyn Johnson-Minter, with Ft. Bend County Health and Human Services, as well as the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. We will continue to work with local and state health officials as this situation progresses.”

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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, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

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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