The city of Harlingen has implemented a new protocol that is aimed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Josh Ramirez is the health director for the city of Harlingen. He says the cases in nursing homes spurred the city to create new protocols.
“The majority of our cases have been through nursing home patients, the most vulnerable,” Ramirez explained. “Before accepting a patient into a nursing home the patient should be tested while at the hospital or somewhere else.”
Patients will be required to be tested 24 to 72 hours before check in. They will then have to complete a five day isolation period, following a second test before being admitted.
“Our best approach would be to test the patients before and after. We want to make sure we develop good common sense protocols for the care of the patients and the prevention,” Ramirez added.
Local hospitals are on board, too and believe the approach can help reduce the spread of the virus.
“The contacted the hospital for discussion and review and we’re really happy to work with the city to make sure we’re doing what we can for our patients,” said Dr. Christopher Romero from Valley Baptist Medical Center.
The city is taking efforts to strengthening their role in response to COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, we’ve lost residents and we want to make sure we don’t lose more,” Ramirez said.
These new guidelines are to be applied at all nursing homes in Harlingen effective immediately.