Holding hands

Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers in Guadalupe County are already taking precautionary measures to keep residents safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though there are no reported cases in the county, they’re limiting visitors, providing health screenings and staying extra vigilant.

Mary Jane Salazar, chief nursing officer at Remarkable Healthcare of Seguin, said the facility has closed off all entryways into the center to avoid unnecessary contact.

“All of our doors from the outside except our main entrance are locked,” she said. “We’re asking all of our visitors to come in through the front door.”

The facility, which hosts about 80 residents, asked visitors not to come to the facility “unless absolutely necessary,” on its social media sites.

“When they come through the front doors, they have to stop at the reception desk, and they have to have their temperature checked, and we have a questionnaire that they have to fill out,” Salazar said. “The questionnaire just says things like ‘have you visited a city that had an outbreak,’ or anything like that. If they answer yes to any of the questions, then they’re not allowed in the building.”

If a visitor is running a fever, then they are also barred from entering the facility, Salazar said.

If they pass all those tests, they’re asked to use sanitizer and wash their hands before proceeding.

“Everybody’s actually been really good about it,” she said. “And they actually appreciate that we’re doing that for their loved ones.”

Remarkable’s checkpoints apply to anyone who comes to the facility, not just visitors, Salazar said.

“They all have to stop,” she said, “We’re not really taking our residents on outings right now. Everything is in-house. We do have a beautician that comes to the facility, and she has to follow the same [protocol] that anybody else does.”

Staff members at Remarkable are also required to undergo screenings if they report any symptoms of illness, Salazar said.

If they show any symptoms, the administrative staff will send them home, Salazar said.

Autumn Winds Living and Rehabilitation Center in Schertz takes similar steps, said Elisia Barron, assistant director of nursing.

Staff at Autumn Wind’s recently received a rundown on all things coronavirus, Barron said.

In addition to limiting visitor traffic, Barron said volunteers are not allowed to enter the facility at all.

“Once our staff get here, they can’t leave as well,” she said. “Because you’re already here, so we don’t want you to go out on lunch and then come back and maybe be exposed to anything. So we’re actually providing their food as well so that they can stay here.”

In the event one of Autumn Winds’ 70 residents shows signs of coronavirus symptoms, immediate measures will be taken, Barron said.

“If they had any symptoms, whether it’s flu, allergies or the coronavirus that would dictate what we did because if it’s flu and things like that, we can handle that in house,” she said. “Now, if it doesn’t have body aches and all of those types of things that the flu is supposed to have, then [we] would have to contact CDC and then get them transferred out a certain way and have to have a whole protocol of cleaning the facility.”

Hacienda Oaks Nursing and Rehab is also taking steps.

The administration there plans to implement additional admissions and visitor screening policies, officials said in a statement

“We are monitoring updates from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the American Health Care Association, as well [as] other local, state and federal advisory and regulatory agencies,” the statement read.

Hacienda’s visiting hours and facility entrance policies also may be adjusted.

“We will be providing regular updates, especially in the event we receive a presumptive positive test for coronavirus in the facility,” the statement read.

In a social media post, Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Seguin shared a release from Regency Integrated Health Services about the facility’s updated procedures during the spread of the coronavirus.

“Regency Integrated Health Services currently has no active or known infections of the virus and the safety of our residents, employees, family and visitors remain RIHS’s highest priority,” the statement read. “As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, RIHS is monitoring the situation closely and is following the CDC recommended guidelines for all areas of its business and will continue to do so.”

Windsor will also limit visitors unless given permission by administration, restrict access to the facility to one entrance for staff and vendors and limiting outings outside the facility.

Joe Martin is a staff writer for the Seguin Gazette. He can be reached at joe.martin@seguingazette.com

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