Data released by the state of Texas to county officials indicates that seven Ellis County-based nursing homes have had at least one staff member test positive for COVID-19, with four facilities having had residents test positive.

Of those four facilities, Legend Oaks Health & Rehabilitation of Waxahachie has reported eight deaths, Pleasant Manor Health & Rehabilitation (Waxahachie) has reported one death and Ennis Care Center has reported one death. The 10 facility-related deaths to date represent two-thirds of the county’s 15 deaths total.

In its news release Wednesday, the Ellis County Office of Emergency Management noted that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission suspended nonessential visitation and on-campus events March 13 for high-risk facilities, including nursing homes and state supported living centers.

On May 11, when Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Department of State Health Services to test 100-percent of residents and staff in licensed nursing facilities.

The county’s news released noted that local fire departments and DSHS worked with the facilities on the testing of all residents and staff. The tested facilities were Bluebonnet Rehab of Ennis, Ennis Care Center, Focus Care, Legend Oaks of Waxahachie and Ennis, Midlothian Healthcare Center, Pleasant Manor, Red Oak Health & Rehabilitation and Trinity Nursing & Rehabilitation of Italy. The testing of more than 1,278 residents and staff was completed as of June 1, with DSHS notifying the county June 3 of the results.

DSHS region 2/3 actively monitors COVID-19 in Ellis County and oversees 37 other counties in north Texas.

Of these tests, DSHS has identified 68 cases of COVID-19 to include residents (46 cases) and staff (22) associated with Focus Care, Legend Oaks of Waxahachie and Ennis, Pleasant Manor, Red Oak Health & Rehabilitation and Trinity Nursing Home.

Because the nursing home data was sent in a separate release to its regular COVID-19 case reports to the county, as of today, 41 of the 46 cases at nursing facilities have been reported in the Ellis County COVID-19 updates.

“As results are delivered to OEM by the Local Health Authority, we will continue to be transparent in reporting new COVID-19 cases,” the county’s news release reads.

In a statement, Ellis County Judge Todd Little, who also serves as the county's emergency management director, said, “Before our first COVID-19 case, Ellis County began working with nursing facility leaders across the county to ensure these facilities were adhering to the guidelines and protocols provided by HHSC to mitigate the risks of COVID-19.

"Although we never hoped this day would come, we understood it was imperative that we took the necessary preventative actions to protect our residents," Little said. "The health of the most vulnerable and those committed to serving our community will continue to remain the highest priority.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce 10 of our 15 COVID-19 related deaths are from residents of nursing facilities."

The Ellis County Office of Emergency Management continues to work with local jurisdictions in monitoring these reported cases and coordinating with the state of Texas to acquire additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and resources to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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