McALLEN — The Alfredo Gonzalez Texas State Veterans Home is limiting visitation to only spouses and family members as a precautionary measure to protect from the potential spread of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared a global pandemic.

Communications Director Karina Erickson of the Texas General Land Office said the McAllen facility is one of nine state veterans homes limiting visitation in this manner. Locations are in McAllen, Amarillo, Big Spring, Bonham, El Paso, Floresville, Houston, Temple and Tyler.

Each home was notified Wednesday morning of this new, temporary visitation policy.

Erickson said GLO’s decision was “made out of an abundance of caution in the best interest of the veterans in our care.” She also said outside guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was considered when it came time to make a decision.

With regard to its residents, state veterans homes are administering both verbal and physical screenings of residents to check for coronavirus symptoms, which consists of fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear between two and 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

Screenings at these facilities consist of daily temperature checks every morning and oral conversations with residents about their health. Screenings are also being coordinated with visitors, staff and vendors, Erickson said.

“Our number one goal is to prevent panic from ensuing,” Erickson said when asked if GLO planned any news releases or statements being issued with regard to the new policy. “This is a preventative measure we’re taking to make sure our veterans are taken care of.”