News Release

Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Phil Wilson
HHS Executive Commissioner
Date:April 7, 2020
Kelli Weldon, 512-424-6951

Texas Provides Guidance for Nursing Facilities

Current Guidance Addresses Infection Control Recommendations

AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services is releasing current guidance to nursing facilities across the state on how to respond in the event of a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19.

This current guidance – COVID-19 Response for Long-term Care Facilities – includes an overview of information provided to nursing facilities and highlights requirements and recommendations to protect resident health and safety. The guidance applies when a facility becomes aware of the infection of a resident, staff member, or visitor.

“We hope this information will help the providers we regulate respond as effectively as they can to COVID-19, as we fully understand they are confronting an unprecedented situation,” said David Kostroun, Deputy Executive Commissioner of the Texas HHS Regulatory Services division. “This detailed guidance spells out the immediate, short-term and longer-term steps a facility should take to help contain the spread of the virus, including protocols for infection control, isolation of residents, and the use of personal protective equipment. This plan reflects our ongoing commitment to give providers the information they need to protect the vulnerable people they serve.”

A result of interagency collaboration among HHS, the Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management, this current guidance is posted on the Texas HHS website here.

The guidance is a living document that will be updated frequently as new guidance is provided, so facilities are urged to check this page regularly.

Long-term care facilities are reminded they must notify HHS and their local health authorities of any presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19 for a resident or staff. An HHS survey team then actively investigates to assess the facility’s compliance with all relevant health and safety rules, including those requiring it to follow proper infection control practices.

All long-term care facilities where COVID-19 has been detected also must follow all CDC and Texas DSHS guidelines for infection control, including appropriate use of isolation and personal protective equipment for staff and residents, to protect health and safety. Guidance for facilities also includes working closely with local health officials.

More information is available at Texas residents can dial 2-1-1 to learn about programs and services.