At the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 66 of the 84 residents are currently infected, said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
The number, which the mayor called “devastating”, was a sharp increase from Wednesday when 14 people connected to the establishment, including six workers, were confirmed to have coronavirus.
Another resident, a man in his 40s who also contracted the virus, died earlier this week.
In total, the epidemic of the highly contagious virus has infected a total of 73 people connected to the 116-bed facility on the southeast side.
The Metropolitan Health District is conducting a contact tracing investigation to determine how the virus was introduced.
On ExpressNews.com: A San Antonio nursing home at the center of a recently cited coronavirus outbreak for infection control problems
Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff called the infection rate “worrying.”
“It’s an incredibly high number,” he said. “It is embarrassing that this is happening in a nursing home. “
Eleven residents tested negative, two tests were inconclusive and four are pending. No new infections among nursing home staff have been reported.
The nursing home, which falls short of federal standards for staffing levels and health inspections, was recently cited for failing to comply with appropriate infection control protocols and for medically neglecting a resident. Federal regulators rated its performance on five stars, the lowest possible score.
In October, they cited the facility after two nursing assistants did not wash their hands after cleaning a resident’s rectal area and patted him on the towel with a contaminated towel. Another resident’s oxygen tubing was improperly stored, a violation that put those receiving oxygen support at the facility at risk for respiratory infections.
On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio has more than 100 cases of coronavirus. The actual number is probably higher.
Nirenberg said the city would closely monitor similar problems in 48 of the city’s underperforming nursing homes that have 1 to 3 star overall ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“We do a lot of visits, frequent visits, to these facilities,” he said.
He said officials had reviewed Advanced Rehab and Healthcare at Live Oak, another center operated by the nursing home’s parent company, Advanced Healthcare Solutions, and found no problems.
San Antonio officials said red flags had been raised for the first time on Southeast Nursing after increased transportation from the facility. Six residents were taken to the hospital on Wednesday. Those who do not need urgent medical care are isolated in the nursing home.
Authorities have started monitoring ambulance traffic in local nursing homes after an epidemic of coronavirus in a Washington state facility killed dozens.
Nursing homes across the country have closed their doors to visitors due to their residents’ sensitivity to complications from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
The number of coronavirus cases attributed to community transmission in San Antonio on Thursday exceeded travel-related cases for the first time on Thursday.
“We are in a period of community spread that you cannot ignore,” said Nirenberg. “We have to assume that the virus is present in every corner of the city, whether or not we have data to prove it.”
Lauren Caruba covers health care and medicine in the San Antonio area and Bexar County. To learn more about Lauren, become a subscriber. [email protected] | Twitter: @LaurenCaruba | Marina Starleaf Riker is an investigative reporter for the San Antonio Express-News with extensive experience covering affordable housing, inequality and disaster recovery. To learn more about Marina, become a subscriber. [email protected] | Twitter: @MarinaStarleaf