AUSTIN – Nursing homes in almost half of all Texas counties, including Dallas and Tarrant, must start testing their staff twice a week for COVID-19 or face potential fines.
The sweeping new rules from the federal government are aimed at reducing spread in nursing homes, where the virus has cut a deadly path. Families and advocates hope the rules will open the door to more visitation, which has been restricted for months.
But nursing homes leaders warn a lack of testing supplies right now could undermine the government’s efforts and strain resources over the long-term.
“Regular testing is a good policy because it helps providers to identify the virus,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, which represents senior care facilities in the state. “But given the limited supply availability, these providers are not going to be in compliance overnight.”
The rules, announced last week