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Galveston Co. releases new details on potential disease exposure

The Galveston County Health Authority released new details Friday regarding a health scare of patients of Texas City's Coastal Health and Wellness where 9,500 patients may have been exposed to Hepatitis C, B and HIV.

GALVESTON, Texas - The Galveston County Health Authority released new details Friday regarding a health scare of patients of Texas City’s Coastal Health and Wellness where 9,500 patients may have been exposed to Hepatitis C, B and HIV.

“1,082 patients have been tested,” said Dr. Philip Keiser with the Galveston County Health Authority. “We have had results on 510 so far, and so far, no one has become positive.”

Related: Health officials investigate 6 cases of Hepatitis C in Galveston Co. dental patients

That’s in addition to four earlier cases of Hepatitis C that may have been transmitted by dirty equipment, which Keiser detailed on Friday.

“Inspectors found things like dirty brushes that were used to clean equipment. The sonic cleaner, which is a big tub with cleaning solution...there was no documentation that anyone was ever changing that fluid.”

According to Kaiser, the audit also found the clinic wasn’t using sterile water during procedures. Both the clinic’s executive director, Mary McClure, and the dental director resigned Thursday.

Kathy Barroso, the chief executive officer of the Galveston County Health District, will serve as the clinic’s interim executive director.

“These changes needed to be made in order to move forward,” Keiser explained.

Plans are to reopen the clinic under new leadership and cleaning procedures within weeks.

“I understand that there’s been a lot of lost trust, and if I were in that situation, I’d be extremely upset. I'd probably be very angry. But I would also ask them to look at the things that we are doing," Keiser said.

There are still some 8,000 patients that need to be tested for hepatitis C, B and HIV.

For details about the free testing visit Galveston County Health District's website.

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