59 additional COVID-19 cases reported at two Panola County nursing homes; county total now at 163
More test results pending from nursing homes and mobile testing site
CARTHAGE, TEXAS (KLTV) - Panola County is now home to the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in East Texas.
On Tuesday, April 28, Panola County Judge Lee Ann Jones confirmed an additional 39 cases of COVID-19 at two Carthage nursing homes. Jones said 22 cases were at Panola Nursing and Rehabilitation, and 17 were at Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center. On Wednesday, April 29, Jones confirmed an additional 20 cases at Briarcliff.
“They share a physical therapist," Jones said. "They’re wondering maybe the physical therapist brought it in. But I didn’t investigate it, so I wouldn’t know. I’m sure the state department of health will investigate as to how it got into the nursing homes.”
Jones said both nursing homes have tested all residents and employees. Sixty-five tests are pending from both facilities.
“They’ve tested everyone,” Jones said. “They have tested every employee and every resident. And they’re now trying to get it to where all the negative people are in one place.”
On its COVID-19 web page, Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center reports five residents and one employee have died.
On Friday, the state offered free drive-thru testing at First Baptist Church in Carthage. About 70 people were tested and the results are still pending, according to Jones.
“Their goal was to test one percent of the city’s population and that’s about 6 or 7 thousand, and they got 70," Jones said. "So they got what they came here to do.”
Like its neighbor county to the south, Shelby County, Panola County is home to a Tyson Foods Facility. Jones told KLTV on Tuesday that out of the 575 plant employees, 22 have tested positive for COVID-19. On Wednesday, she said 13 of the 22 employees are Panola County residents. According to a KSLA report, a majority of the cases in Shelby County were attributed to the Tyson facility in Center. The new cases at Tyson in Carthage are not yet included in the county’s total.
Jones is asking Panola County residents to be cautious, even as the stay-at-home orders expire and the state begins to reopen.
“If you feel comfortable wearing a mask, please wear one. If you don’t, we understand. But it would be safe to wear one.”
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