Lake Worth nursing home residents removed while state investigates COVID-19 'compliance issues'

The state of Texas is investigating a local nursing home that sources say was extremely short staffed and unable to care for coronavirus patients and other residents there.

The state is only saying that it is looking into “compliance issues" at Lake Worth Nursing Home.

But sources told FOX 4 when state investigators and health care workers arrived, there were very few caregivers there meet the needs of more the 20 coronavirus patients and dozens of other residents.

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Health and Human Services said within an hour of being notified about the status of the facility, it responded with a surveyor team. The evacuation was the result of what the team found at the nursing home.

MedStar officials said they helped to move about 63 residents from the facility on Wells Drive in Lake Worth. About 25 of those residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Video from SKY 4 Wednesday afternoon showed crews from a private company disinfecting.

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State and local sources told FOX 4 part of the investigation involves an extreme lack of staffing required to care for the coronavirus patients and the others inside.

“Our regulatory authority allows us to revoke a nursing facility’s license or take other enforcement action against a facility for failure to comply with health and safety regulations,” the state health department said in a statement.

The state would not detail the reasons for staffing issues but a local source told FOX 4 some staffers walked off the job.

Matt Zavadsky with MedStar said the process to remove all 63 residents took some time because crews had to make sure they were thoroughly evaluated, had all of their belongings and had all of their medications before leaving.

“It was very fortunate the state was able to find one facility that’s able to take about half of the residents. So it makes it easier to relocate them, but it also makes it easier for the patients because a lot of them will be together, they’ll just be in a new facility,” he said.

Zavadsky said the residents will not be returning to the Lake Worth Nursing Home.

The state did not release information about where they were taken but said the other facilities are nearby and that family members were notified.

“Thankfully the state was able to find locations that are in the immediate area so that if there are family members that routinely keep track of their relatives that are here at the facility, they won’t have to go far,” Zavadsky said.

State health officials said the facility’s compliance with health and safety rules is under investigation. Violations warranting enforcement or possibly revoking the home’s license is a possibility. Any penalties will be determined once the investigation is complete.

RELATED: Interactive map of Texas COVID-19 cases