On Wednesday, a group of Texas Democrats penned a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott petitioning the governor to do more to protect elderly Texans living in nursing homes.
“Our state government can and must do more to protect our most vulnerable Texans,” read the letter written by state Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) and signed by state Reps. Gina Hinojosa, Celia Israel, Rafael Anchía, and more than a dozen other Texas Democrats.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nursing homes and assisted living facilities particularly hard. An investigation by KHOU found that nearly half of coronavirus deaths in Texas have been linked to those long-term care facilities. Likewise, roughly 19 percent of nursing homes in Texas have reported positive cases, according to the Health and Human Services Commission
The lawmakers requested additional funding for wages and PPE for staff working at these facilities, as well as mandatory testing for employees and residents. They also requested greater transparency in reporting deaths from these facilities.
The letter comes the same day as another letter by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, a group that fights for access to government information. In their letter, the watchdog group requested the release of the names and locations of nursing homes in Texas where cases or deaths have been reported.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images