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Texas will test all residents, staff of state supported living centers for COVID-19

The Denton State Supported Living Center was the site of one of the largest North Texas outbreaks.
Credit: WFAA-TV

Texas Health and Human Services officials will test all residents of its state supported living centers for COVID-19, according to a letter sent to families and guardians.

Plans also are underway to “test all employees,” Scott Schalchin, the associate commissioner of the state supported living centers, wrote in a letter obtained by WFAA-TV. 

“The test kits have been ordered and are on their way. We will let you know your loved one’s results – positive or negative – as soon as we have them," Schalchin wrote.

There are 13 state supported living centers statewide housing intellectually disabled medical fragile residents. There about 2,800 residents in those centers.

Locally, the Denton State Supported Living Centers houses about 400 people. It was the center of one of North Texas’ biggest outbreaks of COVID-19.

RELATED: Denton state school employee who survived COVID-19 says he's 'just happy to be alive'

To date, 55 residents and 67 staff members of the Denton State Supported Living Center have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the health department.

Earlier this month, a resident died after being hospitalized for COVID-19.

According to Schalchin’s letter, the residents at the living centers currently being tested “do not have symptoms and we have no reason to believe they have been exposed to or have contracted COVID-19, but by taking this step, we will increase our ability to prevent the spread of the virus in our facilities and throughout our system.”

The living centers continue to restrict visitation, screen all visitors and require masks for all staff and full personal protective equipment for staff on units with positive COVID-19 cases, the letter said.

RELATED: Former Denton living center employees say facility put their health at risk during coronavirus outbreak

“We …isolate those who test positive from those who do not have COVID-19, and issue surgical masks to all staff on campuses with COVID-19 cases,” Schalchin wrote.

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