TJC opening temporary housing for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19

Local News

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KEKT) – Starting Friday, Tyler Junior College will open temporary housing for healthcare workers fighting on the front lines of COVID-19.

The option to stay at Ornelas Hall on the TJC campus is for those that worry about spreading the virus to spouses and children.

Tyler Mayor Martin Heines said they will start by letting 15 hospital workers stay overnight, but the facility can house up to 250 individuals.

“We’re doing the soft opening with people that want to after doing a 12-hour shift instead of going home with the fear of any sort of passing the infection to their spouse or child that they just want a room to sleep so that’s what the soft opening will be,” said Mayor Heines.

He assured this is not for workers who tested positive for COVID-19 but for those who are coming in contact with symptomatic patients and want to be cautious about spreading the virus.

Procedures will be in place to professionally clean and sanitize the rooms and common areas, and CDC guidelines will be followed to ensure the health and safety of those in the residence hall.

“As the community’s college, it is our privilege to offer our TJC facilities to those healthcare professionals and first responders who are on the front lines taking care of the citizens of East Texas,” said TJC President Dr. Juan Mejia. “Ornelas Hall is in close proximity to hospitals and clinics in Tyler’s medical district and will provide a comfortable place for an overnight stay or a few hours’ rest. We want our healthcare heroes to know we appreciate all they are doing, especially during this health crisis.”

Mayor Heines said depending on the need, they will expand and open more housing. Currently, a local hotel, Texas College and UT Tyler are options.

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