P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020
AUSTIN, TX – Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today joined the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in announcing additional steps to protect residents and staff of the Denton State Supported Living Center as well as the surrounding community, and to slow the spread of COVID-19. Measures include stationing emergency medical resources on campus and coordinating with multiple hospitals in the region to accept residents that may require hospitalization for COVID-19.
"We are working around the clock to mitigate the spread of the virus at the Denton State Supported Living Center. These are vulnerable Texans with unique needs, and protecting them is of the utmost importance. We have stepped up testing and are bringing in additional resources from the state to ease the strain on our local hospitals," said Senator Nelson, whose district includes the Denton SSLC. "I urge the public to follow local, state and federal orders relating to this crisis. We want everyone to stay safe!"
Denton County Public Health recently confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Denton SSLC and is coordinating additional testing of individuals who may have been exposed.
Effective immediately, HHSC is stationing up to four ambulances on the Denton SSLC campus to provide transportation for residents who require hospitalization due to COVID-19. These ambulances were secured through the Department of State Health Services’ Texas Emergency Medical Task Force and are not local emergency management resources. There will be no impact to local emergency response capabilities.
HHSC is also working with the Medical Incident Support Team, in coordination with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, to identify multiple hospitals in the region that will accept patients, if necessary. Increasing the number of hospitals that accept these medically fragile residents will preserve hospital capacity in Denton and across the region.
Denton SSLC staff have dedicated homes on campus for residents who test positive for COVID-19 and do not require hospitalization, and residents recovering from the virus who have been discharged from a hospital. These residents will be isolated while receiving care to prevent spread. Denton SSLC staff working with sick residents, or residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19, are being supplied personal protective equipment and are following all CDC guidelines to protect their safety and prevent spread.
On March 13, HHSC suspended visitation and on-campus events at SSLCs across the state. In addition, on March 16, Denton SSLC began screening all employees and essential visitors for fever and respiratory illness prior to entering the facility.
While SSLCs must meet certain staffing requirements to provide essential services, staff who are not required to be on campus are teleworking.
Established in 1960, Denton SSLC serves the 18 counties of the greater Dallas area. The center’s 1,470 employees provide 24-hour residential care, medical services and vocational training to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nearly 450 people call the center home.