Lawmakers, Texans call for testing, transparency as COVID-19 threatens Texas nursing homes

Calls for testing, transparency when it comes to COVID-19 and nursing homes
Calls for testing, transparency when it comes to COVID-19 and nursing homes

HOUSTON – Natashia Foglesong’s 92-year-old grandmother lives in the Park Manor nursing home in Conroe, Texas and she’s been worried about her since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March.

“Her life has been uprooted,” Foglesong said. “She’s had to move rooms from where she was normally. She doesn’t have all of her things.”

Like many nursing homes across the U.S., COVID-19 found its way inside Park Manor, where two residents have died from the virus. A third resident died at a facility in The Woodlands. Residents who test positive are placed in isolation units. To prevent further spread of the virus to one of the most vulnerable segments of the population, the state barred non-essential visitors from entering nursing homes until the pandemic subsides.

RELATED: Details on how to test all Texas nursing home residents, staff still being ironed out, officials say

“I can call her on the cell phone,” Foglesong said. “At 92, everything is a panic to her.”

HMG Healthcare runs these facilities and proactively implemented a regular testing schedule for employees and residents, and so far, Foglesong’s grandmother has tested negative.

“I realize this is new and we’re all doing the best that we can and that there’s had to be a lot of changes,” said Foglesong. “It’s hard not seeing her in person.”

This is far from an isolated case, Channel 2 Investigates found COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes across the state — from Houston to Beaumont to Paris, Texas. However, finding out exactly which facilities are experiencing outbreaks is a challenge. Nursing homes are not required to publicly disclose this information. Some do it on their own, but most are tight-lipped.