Area nursing home facilities are constantly working to keep their residents healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Renaissance Care Center spokeswoman Megan Anderle said Tuesday, July 21, that the senior living facility at 1400 Blackhill Drive has not allowed visitors since March.

A reminder on the Texas Health and Human Services website states that assisted living facilities must prohibit visitation to help the elderly not get sick with the coronavirus. Visitors still allowed include those who provide essential services and family and friends of residents who are at the end of life.

Anderle said the nursing and rehabilitation center doesn’t even allow residents to receive outside packages or food that’s brought to the door in an effort to control germs.

Packages are accepted through the mail, Anderle said, and from there all items including food containers are wiped down and sanitized before given to the resident.

Staff is “constantly” cleaning, she said.

So far, the facility hasn’t had any residents or staff test positive for the coronavirus and Anderle said she hopes that continues.

She said the senior living facility isolates new patients and those that have come back from a hospital visit for 14 days. A staff member in full personal protective equipment comes and checks on them during the isolation period, she said.

In addition, the person in isolation has either been tested for the coronavirus at the hospital or is tested by the nursing home, according to Anderle.

Other measures the facility has in place include wearing masks and social distancing — even if it means getting creative and playing bingo down a hallway.

Social distancing is staying six feet away from someone not in your immediate household.

“It’s really sad, but it’s been keeping everything at bay so that’s good,” Anderle said.

Family can stay connected via window visits or video calls for the time being.

“We’ve had to adjust a lot,” Anderle said. “Our patients and family have been amazing.”

As of Tuesday, the nursing home had 41 residents occupying its 91-bed facility.

Patrick Driggers, administrator at Pecan Tree Rehabilitation and Healthcare, said Tuesday that there are currently 80 residents at the 122-bed facility at 1900 E. California St.

He said policies haven’t changed since the pandemic began, which include video calls and keeping social distancing measures in place.

Driggers previously told the Register that Pecan Tree instituted a 72-hour hold on incoming mail before transferring to residents.

He also said the nursing home is preparing for the worst as a precaution.

“The state told us to get ready,” Driggers said.

Preparation for a potential rash of coronavirus cases includes altering the facility’s entry and exits to certain areas, he said.

“We’ve been talking about it and taking baby steps,” he said.

The facility keeps tabs on the county’s statistics, as well, he said. According to Southwest LTC’s website, the nursing home has no active cases of the coronavirus among its patients or staff.

Southwest LTC operates Pecan Tree.

“Everyone is at a point of growing weary,” Diggers said. “ … We’re trying to be optimistic.”

Cathy Lloyd, administrative assistant with the Cooke County Judge’s Office, said Tuesday afternoon that there are not any retirement home addresses on her list of active coronavirus cases.

Through Monday, July 20, there were 54 active coronavirus cases in Cooke County, according to a tally county officials released Tuesday.

There have also been two reported coronavirus-related fatalities. A total of 169 cases have been recorded, counting active, recovered and fatal cases.

As of press time Tuesday, there were 3,858,686 reported cases of the coronavirus nationwide and 141,426 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. In Texas, there were 343,783 reported cases and 4,106 deaths.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

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