If this whole COVID-19 situation has taught anything, it is that change is constant. That change continues as the state tries to implement the testing of all skilled nursing centers in the state.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies Monday to develop a plan to test all nursing home residents and staff for the novel coronavirus.

Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said information they received Wednesday showed that the state wants the tests to be done by local fire departments.

Somers said they are still just putting together the plans for how it will all work out, but the testing has to be completed by May 25.

The news comes as COVID-19 positive cases in Grayson County grew dramatically. On Wednesday afternoon, the county had reported 112 positive cases. Grayson County’s OEM Facebook page shows that 48 people have recovered from the virus and no one has died from it. It is important to note that testing is not wide-spread in Grayson County and the county’s population is around 100,000 people. More than 1.500 people have been tested in Grayson County. There are 65 test pending results.

Somers said the state will reimburse the area fire departments for the overtime the fire department personnel will work to get the testing done. She said they are working to gather the necessary supplies to start the testing as soon as possible.

The tests are one way the state is trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 in problematic populations like those in the nursing centers where social distancing isn’t really an option.

Abbott told the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Department of State Health Services to come up with and put into place a plan based on the guidance of Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator.

Phil Wilson, acting executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services, recently said there are 1,220 nursing homes in the state and on Friday, 243 or approximately 20 percent had reported at least one positive test. At that time there had been 317 deaths reported from those facilities from COVID-19.

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