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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

3,500 long-term care residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in Texas

Texas Health and Human Services started publishing nursing home data online, including the number of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

AUSTIN, Texas — The State of Texas has made a change that increases nursing home transparency.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) now publishes COVID-19 data online – including a new number, which shows how many residents have tested positive for the virus.

HHSC reports 3,559 long-term care residents have tested positive. Of those, 614 have died, with 100 new deaths since last Monday.

So far, 435 long-term care facilities have COVID-19 cases inside.

"To see there are nearly 4,000 cases just shows the ugly underbelly of what’s happening in nursing homes," said Brian Lee, the executive director of Families for Better Care.

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Lee is glad to see increased transparency from the State but said Texas needs to work faster to test everyone inside nursing homes to curb the spread.

"The more we learn, the more people are tested, the more we’re going to find folks who have contracted the coronavirus," Lee said.

Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the bloom of COVID-19 in nursing homes during a news conference Monday. He named those facilities as one of the three places Texas sees the most clusters of the virus, along with jails and meat-packing plants.

"When we increase testing in hot spots, the number of people testing positive is going to spike," Abbott said. "Then what we find is usually within a week or two, the flareup is contained. The number of people testing positive is reduced, as is the number of people who are hospitalized."

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Abbott said when the State identifies an outbreak, State and local health teams start testing and sanitizing to contain the virus.

As for which nursing homes have coronavirus inside, the State is still keeping that a mystery, citing privacy laws. But other states have published that information, and the federal government will, too, by the end of May.

“Our hope is that Texas will just do the right thing and publish the information,” Lee said.

WATCH: Transparency in Texas nursing homes amid COVID-19 pandemic

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