Testing

Denton Fire Department employees test staff and residents for COVID-19 at the Vintage Health Care Center on May 29. The department tested 327 staff and residents at two nursing facilities on May 28, with plans to swab 400 more at two other facilities May 29.

More than 100 nursing home residents in Denton County have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, and a few dozen more are suspected to have contracted the virus.

Information available from the federal and state governments helps paint a lagging picture of the virus’s presence among members of the most vulnerable population.

Information about the virus’s toll in nursing facilities and state supported living centers has been notoriously sparse across the country and state, despite its outsize impact on those facilities.

Texas Health and Human Services data available online Thursday was last updated on July 22. At that point, it had cataloged 19 employees and 63 nursing home residents actively infected with the virus in Denton County. It also seemed to show 24 nursing home deaths in the county caused by COVID-19.

Federal data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed at least 85 staff and 105 nursing home residents in Denton County had tested positive for the virus. In contrast, it showed only nine locals in nursing homes had been killed by COVID-19.

The CDC data was last updated on July 31, and it did not include all nursing homes in the county by Thursday afternoon. Data is voluntarily reported to both the state and federal agencies, meaning information is almost certainly missing from each report. Neither data set included state supported living centers.

Denton County Public Health reported 167 county residents in long-term care facilities had tested positive for the virus, but it did not specify where those people live.

According to CDC data, the majority of virus cases seem to hover around three of Denton County’s 18 nursing facilities: Vintage Health Care Center in Denton, Remarkable Healthcare of Prestonwood in Carrollton, Countryside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Pilot Point.

Those three centers reported a total of 82 residents had tested positive for the virus by the end of July, which constitutes 78% of all cases reported to the agency for long-term care facilities in the county.

Calls made to each of the three facilities Thursday afternoon were not returned.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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