Two health care workers at Cooke County establishments have tested positive for COVID-19, according to announcements by their respective employers issued Thursday, March 26.
An employee at Gainesville Nursing & Rehab, 1900 O'Neal St., tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, a news release forwarded via email from Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley from the business says.
"[Wednesday, March 25], one of our employees notified us that he had just been tested positive for COVID-19 by the Dallas County Health Department," the release from the health care facility states. "Pursuant to our policy and practices, the employee had been screened for symptoms of the virus when he reported for work on Friday, March 20, 2020, and did not exhibit any symptoms at the time. Based on clearing our screening procedures, he then worked the shift from Friday night to early Saturday morning and then went home."
The release states the man experienced symptoms of a fever and a cough on Monday, pursued getting screened for the new coronavirus and the test came back positive.
The employee, who has not been back to work since his shift Friday, is under the care of his physician and is isolated from others, according to Thursday's statement from Gainesville Nursing & Rehab.
Screening protocols at the rehab and nursing facility require employees to be screened before they begin their shift and again six hours into their shift. In addition, staff are screening residents twice daily for symptoms of the new coronavirus, according to the news release.
As of the time of the release sent Thursday, no residents or other employees were showing any symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.
An employee of Cooke County Medical Center, 801 N. Grand Ave., is reported to have received a presumptive positive test for COVID-19, according to a news release by North Texas Medical Center. NTMC owns CCMC.
The worker initially tested negative for the virus at a health care facility in Frisco on Monday, March 16, the release states.
While awaiting test results, the worker reportedly self-isolated.
On Monday, March 23, the provider received notice from the health care facility in Frisco that the test results were negative. Based on the negative test result and the worker having shown no symptoms for more than 72 hours, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends, the provider returned to work in Gainesville on Tuesday, March 24, the release says.
The same day the CCMC employee returned to work, they received a call from a nurse at the Frisco facility that a second test swab had come back positive.
The CDC defines COVID-19 cases as “individuals with at least one respiratory specimen that tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The medical facility was cleaned immediately and had reopened for business as of Thursday, according to the NTMC release.
On Wednesday, March 25, the employee of CCMC was notified by the epidemiologist for their county's health department, that it was OK to resume normal activity, the release states.
“County Public Health has determined that you currently have no significant risk of spreading the 2019 novel coronavirus disease,” the epidemiologist’s message stated, as quoted in NTMC's release. “Because your isolation period has ended, you will no longer be required to check your symptoms and you will not be required to maintain contact with County Public Health. You are under no travel restrictions, and you can engage in your normal work or school activities without any restrictions. If you work in a healthcare setting, you may provide direct patient care. You may share this letter with your employer as confirmation that you are no longer considered at risk for spreading novel coronavirus disease.”
Details on the worker were not released. The release does indicate that the person does not live in Cooke County. It also does not say whether the employee of CCMC is continuing to work.
Attempts to reach hospital leadership for comment on whether the CCMC employee remained asymptomatic as of press time were unreturned.
County authorities said one case with Cooke County ties was tested in Dallas County and the other in Denton County.
The CCMC employee was was the first case to be reported by an official in Cooke County. However, there have been no confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Cooke County as of press time. The state reports cases by place of residence.
As of press time Thursday, there were 80,021 reported cases of COVID-19 nationwide and 1,136 reported deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. In Texas, there were 1,456 reported cases of the new coronavirus as of press time and 18 deaths, according to the university.
COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.