County confirms 3 COVID-19 cases linked to Harlingen nursing facility

HARLINGEN — The first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a Rio Grande Valley nursing facility have been linked to Veranda Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Harlingen by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr.

Three employees at the facility were confirmed as having contracted coronavirus, Treviño said in his Tuesday afternoon press conference in Brownsville.

“All of these individuals are in isolation currently,” the judge said.

Treviño said county health officials are working with Veranda to try to trace contacts the three workers had, as well as testing Veranda residents and staff as a precaution.

“Employees showing signs and symptoms are not working at the nursing home,” Treviño said. “Patients are being monitored and measures have been implemented to limit the transmission to others including monitoring all patients for signs and symptoms,” he added.

Treviño said staff members remaining at the rehab facility are using personal protective equipment on the job and that Cameron County Public Health is continuing its investigation of the incident.

“At this time, we do not have any known positive COVID-19 residents in the facility,” Jason Hess, a spokesperson for the facility’s operator the Ensign Group, responded to the Valley Morning Star via email.

The Harlingen rehab center at 4301 S. Expressway 83 is owned by The Ensign Group, which has a number of nursing and assisted living homes, and provides physical, occupational and speech therapies in 13 states.

On March 14, Veranda announced it would restrict visitation at the Harlingen facility, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.