The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tens of thousands of deaths and more than three million infections, with predictions of many more to come. Nursing home residents have been among the most affected by the pandemic. In some states, half or more of all COVID deaths have occurred among nursing home residents. The situation is compounded by short-staffing; a lack of preparation, including insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for caregivers and testing to identify those infected in a timely fashion; and inadequate infection control procedures like hand-washing and cleaning.

COVID-19 cases are spreading rapidly throughout Texas nursing homes, recent state figures show. Overall, more than 1,500 residents have died from coronavirus in the state, while more than 11,100 cases have been reported.  The number of nursing home residents in the state who have tested positive for the coronavirus has increased by more than 60% in the last month.

“We had an opportunity to avoid what we’re experiencing right now,” Patty Ducayet, Texas’ long-term care ombudsman, told NBC News.

“We got this chance to see what other states did, what awful things they were experiencing, so we might be ahead of the crisis. Now I’m bracing for more deaths to come and more cases,” she added.

Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) confirmed that the state would not be easing restrictions on non-essential visitors at long-term care facilities. A spokesperson added that the decision was the “most prudent” for the safety of residents.

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