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Teens, staff test positive for COVID-19 at Wolverine Human Services in Vassar

The 13th positive case of COVID-19 has been reported out of Mercer County. Health officials...
The 13th positive case of COVID-19 has been reported out of Mercer County. Health officials made the announcement Tuesday and said it's a man between the ages of 40 and 60. (MGN Image)(KWQC)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT
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(05/13/2020) - Twenty-five out of 38 girls and four staff members at Wolverine Human Services located in Vassar tested positive for COVID-19.

Wolverine is one of the largest child welfare organizations in the state.

"Had it not been for the fact that we tested, we wouldn't have known then, there could have been the potential for a lot of spread," said Vice President of Residential Programs Paul Whitney.

He said only a few of the youth and staff members actually had coronavirus symptoms.

"And that was concerning to us too, is that is the asymptomatic measures that we found with almost all of our clients out here. So of those that tested only a couple had some very minor symptoms that we are accustomed to, hearing about the COVID virus otherwise we wouldn't have known. In fact, in a few cases, we had to tell them they were sick," he said.

The first case of the virus was discovered at one of the four facilities May 3. That's when Whitney says they began working towards mass testing at the facilities.

"We've been trying to test for several weeks now. Fortunately, we partnered with Great Lakes Bay Health Center and Quest Diagnostics, who supplied us with at the tests to be able to do just that," he said. "So as a result, we test and that's our most important thing. And we took a few weeks to do it, but we finally did it,"

Wolverine completed testing for more than 175 children and staff throughout its residential treatment facility in Vassar. Whitney said they having been actively following CDC guidelines, but like many other facilities supplies like masks are hard to come by.

"It's expensive. Especially since again we are buying it from secondary markets and the prices really do get jacked up that way. So we are working with the state. Hopefully we can come with a figure, something that they are really trying their best, given the budgetary issues they are having, across the state and of course across the nation. But anything will help at this point," Whitney said.