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West-Central El Paso nursing home provides little detail on COVID-19 outbreak

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Officials at a West-Central El Paso nursing home confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak but aren’t disclosing how many residents and employees have been affected.

Twelve residents and an unspecified number of employees tested positive in an initial round of testing May 9-10 that covered everyone living and working at Mountain View Health and Rehabilitation, 1600 Murchison, said Leila Jones, a spokeswoman for the facility’s owner, Fort Worth-based Creative Solutions in HealthCare.

The remaining tests were determined to have been contaminated, so another round of testing was ordered on May 20, Jones said in a statement Thursday.

“Those results are being returned to us in batches. The families and residents are being notified of their results as they are reported to us,” she said. 

Jones declined to say how many residents and employees had tested positive and negative to date. Unlike many governments around the country, the city of El Paso declines to provide information about COVID-19 cases at individual facilities.

Texas National Guard soldiers were visible on Sunday outside Mountain View Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing care facility at 1600 Murchison in West-Central El Paso. (Robert Moore/El Paso Matters)

A statement on the Mountain View website dated Tuesday said: “We have had new people connected to our facility test positive for COVID-19. The affected people have been notified of these results.” 

The potential scale of the Mountain View outbreak became evident in recent days as El Paso public health officials reported a surge in COVID-19 infections in the 79902 ZIP code, where Mountain View is located.

As of May 9, when El Paso health officials began the first testing of all Mountain View employees and residents, the 79902 ZIP code had 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases, one of the lowest per-capita infection rates in El Paso County.

In 19 days since testing began at Mountain View, 97 additional cases had been reported in 79902 as of Thursday, according to El Paso Department of Public Health reporting. 

The agency reports infections based on where people live. Mountain View residents testing positive would be reported in the 79902 ZIP code; employees would be reported in the ZIP code where they live.

Texas National Guard soldiers were at Mountain View on Sunday. Gov. Greg Abbott has deployed the Guard to disinfect nursing homes that have had COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Mountain View has 139 certified beds, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It has a one-star (out of five) rating from the federal agency, the lowest possible. It’s most recent health inspection in November 2019 yielded 16 citations, double the national average.

The nursing home has offered sign-on bonuses of $2,500 for charge nurses and $2,000 for certified nurse aides in the past week. The job postings note that Mountain View has recent COVID-19 cases. 

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Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. He spent most of his career at the El Paso Times, serving in a variety of leadership roles. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including Pulitzer Prize finalist, the Burl Osborne award for editorial leadership, the James Madison Award from the Texas Freedom of Information Foundation, the Jack Douglas Award from Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Frank W. Mayborn Award for Community Leadership from the Texas Press Association. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Association. As a freelance journalist, Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on the border by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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