UPDATED: Visitor to Texas Civil Commitment Center has COVID-19 - FOX34 Lubbock

UPDATED: Visitor to Texas Civil Commitment Center has COVID-19

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LITTLEFIELD, Texas -

"The COVID-19 issue coming across our country and coming in the rural areas, we're just going to be as vulnerable as anybody else. We're gonna do the best we can to manage that as it comes to us," County Judge Mike DeLouche said.


In the last 2 weeks, a woman came to the Texas Civil Commitment Center facility for training. 

Then, she tested positive for the novel coronavirus. This was discovered after she returned home, out-of-state. Jessica Marsh, Director of Program Operations at the facility said, she flew in and out of the Lubbock airport, and stayed in the Lubbock area.

 "That individual's contact was limited to certain employees in the administrative area of the facility and they did not have any contact with the clients at the facility. As soon as we became aware of the test, we notified local officials, and the department of state health services to get their advice," Marsh explained over the phone on Tuesday.

City leaders learned of the possible exposure over the weekend. Once it was determined there was no risk to the public, the information was released on Monday afternoon.


"People are taking this seriously, the whole country is taking it seriously. So, there's lots of guidance coming from the federal and state government agencies, from the CDC, on what to do. and people are taking is serious," Mayor Eric Turpen said.


19 administrative employees have gone into self-quarantine.

Last Friday, the facility had already proactively suspended all visitation per the governor's orders.


"We are screening all people when they come to work at the facility by checking their temperature and asking them questions regarding their health status such as: Do you have a cough? Do you have shortness of breath? And we'll continue to do that," Marsh said.


Mayor Turpen said this was a wake up call for this rural community. A week ago, the health center and clinic may not have been ready to fight the spread of the virus.


"Waiting room is very empty. We've been giving people the option to wait in their car. We've been asking them to call ahead," Dr. Rolando Rodriguez explaining new policies at the Lamb County Health Center. "In the hospital we have limited our visitors, we have asked that no visitors under 12 years old come in. And we have suspended any group meetings for non-essential staff," he said.


Those policies were implemented on Monday.

Currently there is 1 ventilator and no ICU beds, for the entire county of 14,000 people.

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A statement from the Texas Civil Commitment Office continues:


Austin, TX: The Texas Civil Commitment Office (TCCO) confirms that a person visiting the Texas Civil Commitment Center (TCCC) in the past 14 days has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual’s contact at the TCCC was limited to 19 employees in the administrative area and did not include any contact with the civilly committed sex offenders residing at the TCCC. Immediately upon becoming aware of the positive test, TCCO along with the Management &Training Corporation (MTC) and the Texas Tech physician assigned to the TCCC notified local officials and the Department of State Health Services of the test. TCCO and MTC followed the recommendations of health officials and took swift action to trace the contacts the individual had at the TCCC. The 19 employees that came into the contact with the individual have self-quarantined on the advice of the Department of State Health Services. Currently, none of those employees are
demonstrating signs of the virus. TCCO has remained in regular contact with local officials in Lamb County and will remain in contact with the Department of State Health Services. TCCO proactively suspended visitation at the TCCC on Friday 3/13/20 before becoming aware of the individual with COVID-19. Routine operations at the TCCC for the security and monitoring of civilly committed sex offenders residing at the TCCC are ongoing; TCCO and MTC are initiating a screening protocol for all staff entering the TCCC.

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A news release from the City of Littlefield continues:

The City understands that appropriate Texas state agencies were notified immediately upon discovery of the positive test, and that MTC enacted their protocol in an effort to contain the virus and decrease the chances of increased exposure. The State Agencies timely responded, and the City understands that MTC has followed their direction. Employees that came into contact with the individual have been restricted from the center and advised on proper containment protocols. Currently, no one is demonstrating signs or symptoms of the virus.

We encourage the public to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control which can be found at www.CDC.gov, including washing hands regularly and limiting social interactions. Because this is a national and international situation with frequent changes and updates, citizens are encouraged to review the website on a regular basis to learn of any new information.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) in Lamb County at this time. Should additional information become available, this press release will be updated.

Story updated to correct name of facility to Texas Civil Commitment Center

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