Coronavirus

Five employees at three South Temple facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials.

An employee of New Beginnings Learning Academy, 969 Marlandwood Road, tested positive for the virus Monday, according to statements from the daycare center and the Bell County Public Health District.

“During the early investigation process we have found that numerous individuals throughout the academy may have been exposed. The administrators have agreed to close and have notified parents of children who attend the academy,” Health District Director Amanda Robison-Chadwell said. “Employees, attendees and their families will be monitored for symptom development per (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) protocol, and have been notified that the Health District will reach out with further guidance.”

Families who send their children to New Beginnings Learning Academy were notified Monday about a worker testing positive.

“Each family that has been present the last two weeks will be contacted by the (Bell County Public Health District) ASAP. They will give you further guidance,” a statement from the daycare said. “We will be shutting down for 24 hours for deep cleaning and organizing.”

The facility plans to reopen June 1.

Retirement home workers

Three workers at TLC East Nursing Rehabilitation, 1511 Marlandwood Road, tested positive on Sunday and an employee at Weston Inn Nursing & Rehabilitation, 2505 S. 37th St., tested positive on Friday, according to Caraday Healthcare, the San Marcos-based company that manages the facility.

At TLC East, Caraday Healthcare tested all workers for the virus after an employee who lives in McLennan County tested positive for COVID-19 last week, according to a news release. At least four TLC East employees tested positive.

“At this time, we do not have any other positive tests at Weston Inn,” Caraday Healthcare stated. “We have initiated testing for all team members and residents to be sure the situation is contained. An update on those tests will be provided once all results are received. Meanwhile, the affected team member is isolating at home.”

Caraday Healthcare did not disclose whether the employees had come in contact with any residents.

“We are following our pre-established protocols that include implementing immediate and precautionary steps to ensure we stop the spread of the infection within our community,” Caraday Healthcare said in a statement. “Caraday is proactively working with public health agencies and medical providers and we are monitoring the situation very closely.”

All Caraday-owned facilities have not allowed visitors since March and have required employees to wear personal protective equipment. The company increased cleaning and sanitization efforts at all of its 13 communities.

Robison-Chadwell has stressed in previous news conferences that the county has not seen any COVID-19 outbreaks in Bell County retirement homes.

These new cases are part of the 12 new infections in Bell County. The Bell County Public Health District is tracking at least 243 cases. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported Monday the county has 248 cases. That number — which remained the same since Saturday — includes coronavirus-positive Fort Hood soldiers who live on base.

Testing nursing homes

Fire departments across Bell County are preparing to help perform COVID-19 tests in local retirement homes, Mike Harmon, the Bell County Emergency Management coordinator, told the Commissioners Court Monday morning.

Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all retirement home residents be tested for COVID-19.

“Roughly half of the nursing homes have come back saying they will take care of testing for their facilities,” Harmon said, adding there are 16 retirement homes in the county. “That leaves still eight or nine nursing homes that we’ll have to (help).”

Firefighters will wear personal protective equipment when they test retirement home residents.

Harmon acknowledged the county will have one issue with the testing: Local labs, he said, are running at a “diminished capacity” because of a lack of equipment for the tests. The state, Harmon said, wants counties to have the tests run at local labs.

Harmon said the county will likely have to send these tests to Coryell Memorial Hospital, 1507 W. Main St. in Gatesville. He said he is working on an agreement with the facility.

One Bell County resident was reported as recovered from the virus over the weekend. The county has seen 150 people recover from COVID-19.

The reported number of tests performed here stayed static at 13,320 — the same number the health district issued Friday.