Four COVID-19 cases reported at North Texas facility for people with disabilities

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Denton State Supported Living Center. Denton State Supported Living Center

A cluster of COVID-19 cases has been found at a North Texas living center for people with disabilities.

Four residents of the Denton State Supported Living Center, a state-run facility that houses people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, have tested positive for the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to local officials. Three of the residents are in their 60s and another is in their 50s, officials said, and all have been hospitalized.

County public health workers said in a news release they were working to determine who the COVID-19 patients had been in contact with.

Virtually all outside visits to state-supported living centers and nursing homes have been prohibited since March 13.

“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our residents, the staff that work day in and day out to serve them and the local community that is such a strong supporter of the Denton State Supported Living Center," said Scott Schalchlin, who oversees the living centers at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. "We are working closely with Denton County Public Health and the Department of State Health Services and taking precautions to mitigate any spread of disease."

Experts have warned that facilities that house elderly and medically fragile residents in close, dormitory-like quarters are at risk of COVID-19 outbreaks as the pandemic surges worldwide. A Seattle-area nursing home at the epicenter of that region's coronavirus outbreak has been linked to at least 19 deaths. On Wednesday, an elderly man who'd lived briefly at the Heights of Tomball nursing home northwest of Houston died of COVID-19 at a local hospital.