All nursing home facilities will be closed immediately to new residents if those facilities have any COVID-19 cases, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced in a Sunday news conference.
The move comes as confirmed cases of COVID-19 have started to spread among assisted living facilities and nursing homes in North Texas. Dallas County's 10th death from the disease was a woman who had been a resident at one such facility.
Jenkins also instituted new regulations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including, but not limited to:
- Immediate notifications after positive tests
- No transfer of patients
- All staff have to wear masks
- Part-time staff can only work at one facility
More regulations will be coming before Monday, Jenkins said.
Jenkins added that if you can get your parents or grandparents or relatives out of a nursing facility and take them into your own home, now is the time to do so.
“If you can bring your loved one home it’s safer than being in the nursing home," he said, adding that he did so for his own mother weeks ago.
County leaders announced a cluster of COVID-19 positive cases popping up in Dallas County. Four people tested positive at the Edgemere Senior Living Center in Preston Hollow. Of the four, three are residents and one is an employee. Of the three residents, one died (Dallas County’s 10th death from COVID-19) and one is hospitalized. Skyline Nursing Center in Oak Cliff also has four residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 and all four of them are hospitalized.
Jenkins said if you do take your loved ones home from a nursing facility where a COVID-19 case is confirmed, you will be under quarantine, meaning "you cannot go to the grocery store, out for a walk or anywhere. If you want outdoor activities, it'll be in your backyard."
Additional regulations are also coming to some parks and recreation sites, including taking down basketball goals and ticketing people to enforce social distancing.
Dr. Philip Huang also spoke at the news conference Sunday to give an update on the number of hospital beds available. The county is not at hospital capacity yet, but there has now been 488 total cases in Dallas County.
"We're at pretty good capacity now, particularly as we double up on beds at our local hospitals," Jenkins said. He said he is uncertain when Dallas will open the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center as an overflow hospital.
“We have the equipment. We would need the staff," Jenkins said, adding that the staff would need to be from outside of current hospital systems so as not to put a strain on resources.
Earlier Sunday, state officials said that the convention center will be available for at least 250 patients with the ability to serve as many as 1,400.
Watch the full press conference here: