Some of the most extreme COVID-19 outbreaks have happened at long-term care facilities.
Now, Texas is working to vaccinate people who live and work at those locations.
Governor Greg Abbott said Texas is participating in a federal program to vaccinate residents and staff of long-term care facilities against COVID-19.
The free program partners with CVS and Walgreens. The pharmacies will send staff to vaccinate those who want one starting December 28.
“Well, the concern is real,” Angela Biggs said.
Angela Biggs’ 30-year-old daughter, Amber, lives at the Denton State Supported Living Center, which is a long-term care facility. She’s lived with a traumatic brain injury since birth.
“So, she has a long history of psychosis,” Biggs said. “This affects her mentally and psychiatrically.”
There are 426 people who live at the facility, and 162 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.
All of those cases are now negative, according to Texas Health and Human Services data, but Biggs fears what could happen if her daughter were to catch the virus.
“I’m more concerned with not being able to assist the staff or care for her if she got sick, and being cut off from seeing Amber, because Amber relies on my communications and conveying it to the staff,” she explained.
Biggs is her daughter’s essential caregiver, and said she can visit her for 90 minutes, once a week.
“Usually, it consists of staying in a room, but just recently, you could take your loved one outside,” she said.
The spread of the virus in long-term care facilities has skyrocketed over the past month.
In Dallas County, there are more than 100 active outbreaks at those facilities, and nearly 860 people who live and work in them have been infected in the past 30 days.
Of the 38 people hospitalized over the past month, 30 of them died.
The hope is that giving vaccinations to these vulnerable groupings will ease the spread, and sooner than later, get life back to normal.
“I believe the residents of long-term care facilities need to be the first in line,” Biggs said.
Long-term care facilities that have not enrolled in the program may choose to do so with the Texas Department of State Health Services’ immunization program.