SAN ANGELO, Texas — This week the Texas governor ordered all Texas nursing homes to test residents and staff over the next couple of weeks. Small nursing homes and assisted living centers will be at the bottom of the list when it comes to getting COVID-19 tests.

Nursing homes have become hot spots for the Coronavirus outbreak in Texas.

This week Governor Abbott ordered all residents and staff in nursing homes across the state to be tested for COVID-19 within the next couple of weeks. The decision came after the White House strongly recommended to governors Monday that all residents and staff at such facilities be tested for the coronavirus.

“They will do the larger nursing homes first. It will depend on the facilities that have COVID-19 or symptomatic residents that have not been tested,” said Tessa Wilson.

Tessa Wilson is the Director of Operations and Clinical at New Haven Assisted Living and Memory Care in San Angelo. The facility hasn’t had any positive cases of COVID-19. She said because they are an assisted living facility, they will be at the bottom of the list when it comes to getting tests.

“I had a call with HHS (Health and Human Services) this morning and found out we are not included because we are a small assisted living facility, unless we have a cluster of 3 or more positives from staff or residents,” explained Wilson.

Facilities that are tested will not be financially responsible for the COVID-19 tests, something Wilson said is a relief.

“We have spent thousands of dollars on our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). That money is coming from the government so the facilities won’t be required any kind of payment,” added Wilson.

New Haven Assisted Living and Memory Care has 9 locations across the country. As of Wednesday, they have only received one positive case of COVID-19 at one of the locations in the Austin, TX area. Wilson attributes this to the small size of the facilities and the precautions taken to keep residents safe.

Since the outbreak began, nursing homes have taken extra measures to try and keep the virus out of their facilities. Wilson said her staff and residents receive questionnaires and temperature checks daily and the facility doors remain locked. Additionally, they ordered a large quantity of PPE for staff. In March, the State of Texas barred all visitations at nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities. Wilson said they will continue with these measures for as long as necessary. It is unknown how long it will take for all of the COVID-19 tests to be administered to Texas nursing homes.

“We’re already treating the residents and ourselves like we may have it because of so many positives that were asymptomatic. If it did spread through one of our communities there’s nothing else we can do. It’s like the flu. Once you have the flu, a flu shot isn’t gonna do any good,” said Wilson.