If there is one thing that has been constant about the COVID-19 pandemic and overall response to it. And, that is we are constantly adapting and changing. What is announced or planned for on one day, might be totally different by the next.

Recently, Grayson County authorities announced that local fire departments would carrying out the governor’s ordered testing of all nursing home staff and employees in the county. Now, that testing will be done by response teams made up by the National Guard and the Texas Division of Emergency Management staff.

Grayson County has not, as of Tuesday afternoon, had any deaths directly attributed to COVID-19. The county, which has a population of over 100,000, has reported 165 positive cases of COVID-19. The county shows that 73 of those cases have recovered and that 1,870 people have been tested. There are 98 tests pending as of Tuesday afternoon.

Grayson County’s Office of Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said that testing at the nursing homes is expected to be completed by June 2 or there about.

She said about a third of the nursing homes in the area had private testing conducted through contracts from parent companies.

She said the reasons for the switch in who would be administering the tests were numerous and ranged from the fact that local fire department personnel are needed to content with ongoing non-COVID-19 emergencies and to the fact that getting the supplies needed for those tests was complicated by the fact that lots of different governments are all trying to procure the same things from the same vendors at the same time.

National Guard personnel come into the area with all of their own supplies and are fairly close to self sufficient, she said.

The tests that are being used take between 48 and 96 hours for results to be available and then those results have to make their way through governmental juggernaut of reporting agencies down to the local health department which will release the numbers locally.

Somers said the purpose of the testing, at this point, seems to be pointed more at making sure that the state’s most vulnerable populations are safe guarded rather than at returning to a pre-COVID-19 status at nursing homes for visitors.

The Associated Press has reported that more than 26,000 residents and staff have died from outbreaks of the virus at the nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That is about a third of all 76,000 deaths in the U.S. that have been attributed to the virus.

While nursing home residents in Texas make up around 6% of the state’s positive cases, they account for about 38% of the state’s deaths related to COVID-19, the AP reported.

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