Denton State Supported Living Center

A security guard checks in with a person at the front entrance at the Denton State Supported Living Center on Saturday. Four of the center’s residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Denton County Public Health. Employees are now getting screenings before they can enter, and visitations have been restricted.

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This story was updated at 5:50 p.m. to reflect new county cases and how the first Denton State Supported Living Center resident was infected.

Four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Saturday at the Denton State Supported Living Center, with one being a case from Friday’s update, according to Denton County Public Health.

The patient confirmed Friday was a man in his 50s. DCPH spokeswoman Jennifer Rainey said he contracted the virus through local transmission.

The other three are patients in their 60s. A second update Saturday from DCPH brought the countywide total to 24 and citywide to seven.

“Our team is working alongside Denton State Supported Living Center to implement additional infection prevention and control measures to protect the residents and staff,” said Matt Richardson, director of Denton County Public Health, in a news release.

DCPH said no additional identifying information would be released. As of March 6, the Denton center houses 443 residents and has 1,478 employees.

Texas’ state supported living centers house people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have behavioral problems or are medically fragile, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

“[Texas Health and Human Services] restricted visitation to all state supported living centers and suspended community outings for residents on March 13, 2020, in addition to routinely screening staff, residents, and any essential visitors earlier this month according to CDC guidelines,” said Scott Schalchlin, associate commissioner for State Supported Living Centers, in the release.

Public health officials will contact anyone who was exposed directly, according to the news release.

ZAIRA PEREZ can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @zairalperez.

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