A mother of a woman who lives at the Denton State Supported Living Center said she is praying for her daughter and others who are cared for there.
"As parents we're trying to be patient and persistent and trying to see how we can help and that is something that's really important to everybody to collaborate, and communication is vital," said Angela Reynolds Bragg, the mother of resident at the living center.
She last saw her daughter, Amber, on March 9. She said her daughter has not tested positive for COVID-19, but was considered high-risk because of a brain injury.
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Thursday afternoon Denton County leaders said someone else tested positive from the facility, bringing the total to eight.
"The SSLC is faced with a difficult task and that is to make sure that they're maintaining that physical and social distancing for those residents but I think that's more challenging with that population than with others," said Dr. Matt Richardson, Director of Denton County Public Health.
The state-run campus houses individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Denton County Public Health said 140 residents were tested on Wednesday.
Richardson said they're testing the most vulnerable patients since they have to be conservative with testing. They're hoping to expand the testing to the 1,400 employees who would be considered high risk.
"As testing becomes available, we’re going to try a two-pronged approach, gain testing in stratifying, prioritizing those most at risk residents and then adding the high-risk staff members, but that formula is a moving target, based on risk and based on exposure. So we’re really focusing on highest risk residents right now, but that expansion test will include staff at some point," Richardson said.
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services said in an email that staff members who are not required to be on campus are teleworking.
A spokesperson also said they've been screening all employees for fevers and respiratory illnesses at the entrances since March 16.
In a statement the Department of Health and Human Services said:
At our SSLCs, there is no higher priority than protecting the health and safety of residents, staff and the local communities in which our SSLCs are located. There is ongoing planning by state emergency officials to assess hospital capacity and needs around the state. In every community our facilities are in, we work closely with local hospitals, health departments, and other authorities to ensure all needs are being met and hospitalization occurs only when necessary. We’re working closely with state and federal authorities to ensure we continue to have the supplies we need.
County Judge Andy Eads said he spoke with Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday night about needing additional resources.
Earlier this week NBC 5 Investigates reported on how Denton County leaders asked the state to build a temporary hospital on the state supported living center in anticipation of a surge.
Eads said they are working to finalize details on extra resources.