Positive at the state school: Testing for coronavirus ongoing at local facilities

A staff member at the Gainesville State School, on Farm-to-Market Road 678, recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

A Gainesville State School youth development coach is “resting comfortably at home” after she tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday, May 19, officials with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department say.

A news release from the TJJD states that the staffer has not been on campus since May 8 when she left work for an “unrelated medical issue.”

Three days later, the Gainesville State School employee began to develop symptoms related to the coronavirus and subsequently decided to seek testing, the release states.

The facility on Farm-to-Market Road 678 has 116 incarcerated youth and 257 employees, according to Brian Sweany, spokesman for the TJJD.

The news release states the TJJD is conducting contact tracing to identify any staff member at the correctional facility who had contact with the youth development coach during the past 14 days because of the positive test. Officials said all youth in the dorms where the employee worked for the past 14 days are being tested, as well as all youth who left those dorms for other locations during that time.

Sweany said Wednesday, May 20, that three juveniles were transferred to the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart. He said those three were tested Tuesday and placed in medical quarantine until “we receive the results.”

“We are identifying all of the individuals they came in contact with as well and will take the necessary steps,” Sweany said, referring to the other juveniles who departed the dorms where the staffer who has the coronavirus worked.

Sweany was uncertain where the Gainesville State School worker who tested positive resided.

He also said he didn’t know how many tests would be conducted because of the worker testing positive.

“That will depend on what we learn from contact tracing,” Sweany said. “I do know that all of the youth on the dorms in question were tested and received pizza for their willingness to cooperate.”

He added no other staff members or youth at Gainesville State School have exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus as of press time Wednesday.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2. It first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

As of noon Wednesday, there were zero active cases of the coronavirus in Cooke County, information from the Cooke County COVID-19 Joint Information Center shows. Thirteen county residents have recovered from the coronavirus and there have been no fatalities recorded among Cooke County residents, the JIC reported.

According to the JIC, 811 county residents have been tested for the virus. Of those, 429 are negative and 369 are pending results. It takes 48 hours for test results to come back after specimens are sent, health officials said.

The uptick in the county’s testing numbers is because of state-mandated testing at nursing homes, according to the JIC.

Currently, there are four nursing home facilities in Cooke County being tested this week: Gainesville Nursing & Rehab, Pecan Tree Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Renaissance Care Center and River Valley Health & Rehabilitation Center, the release states. All four are in Gainesville city limits. The testing does not include assisted living facilities. The nursing home facilities have a combined population of 361 to be tested; however, not all staff reside in Cooke County, according to the JIC.

County statistics include residents of Cooke County only. Two health care workers who are employed in Cooke County but don’t reside here had tested positive earlier for the coronavirus, the Register previously reported. Results from Cooke County residents tested in other counties aren’t reported to Cooke County unless a positive result comes back.

All nursing home testing is to conclude by today, Thursday, May 21, the release states.

As of press time Wednesday, there were 1,547,353 reported cases of the coronavirus nationwide and 93,119 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. In Texas, there were 50,891 reported cases and 1,392 deaths.

Follow the Gainesville Daily Register online for updates as the situation surrounding the coronavirus is developing.

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