Briarcliff policy allows COVID-19 positive nurses to work, conflicting with state guidelines

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CARTHAGE, Texas (KETK) – The state is continuing its investigation into Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center in Carthage.

According to the Panola County Judge, LeeAnn Jones, there are 11 deaths related to COVID-19 out of this facility alone.

Briarcliff is now telling KETK news they are fully recovered from COVID-19 after its peak showed more than 80% of residents infected.

“It’s just really sad, it breaks my heart,” a former employee said describing conditions inside.

While the nursing home celebrates its recoveries, the state is conducting an investigation into how they handled the coronavirus.

When comparing Briarcliff’s policies to the state handbook, KETK found some inconsistencies.

A Briarcliff representative said, “Most of our staff who have tested positive are asymptomatic and have been willing and able to work in the care and treatment of our positive patients.”

However, comparing that to the Texas Health and Human Services handbook for nursing facilities, Briarcliff isn’t following state guidelines.

“Staff who are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 must stay at home,.” the handbook stated.

Several former employees expressed their concern over the policy nearly two months ago. A staff member even told management he had come in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

“They told him he could go ahead and work since he wasn’t showing any symptoms,” a former employee said.

That employee later tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I think the supervisors, they didn’t know what to do really,” an employee said before quitting.

State resources now look to prevent an outbreak like Briarcliff from happening in the future. Texas Health and Human Services tells KETK the investigation is still active as of Monday.

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