All Residents of Arlington Masonic Home To Be Tested for COVID-19 After Resident Dies

Testing to be done Friday by joint effort between Arlington Fire Department, Texas DSHS and Tarrant County Health Department

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The Texas Masonic Retirement Center confirms Friday that all residents living at the Arlington facility would be tested for coronavirus.

In all, approximately 200 residents and staff members will be tested, according to Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

The county will use public and private labs to handle the test.

Results should be back by Sunday.

Whitley added that even if a resident or staff member tests negative for Covid-19 they will be re-tested in the future.

The statement comes after opposing statements by Gov. Greg Abbott and Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja made it unclear exactly what was taking place following the death of a resident who had been infected with the virus.

During a news conference in Arlington on Wednesday, Abbott said all residents and staff of the retirement home would be tested for COVID-19 after a resident died after 77-year-old Patrick James contracted the virus. Taneja said Thursday that the county had no plans to test all of the residents, despite the assurances by the governor, and that "only appropriate individuals who really need it" would be tested.

On Friday, the retirement center confirmed, "a team comprised of medical responders from the Arlington Fire Department, Texas Department of State Health Serivces, and Tarrant County Public Health will be testing all residents and staff members of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center for COVID-19."

“There may have been some temporary confusion coming out of CDC,” said Judge Whitley responding to the conflicting information released by the county health director. “The governor made it very clear from the get-go that regardless of what regulations were normally in place, as to who would be tested that, that was being waved and that everyone would be tested.”

Whitley telling NBC 5 on Friday the trained responders will look to see who may have had contact with Mr. James.

“This family [James and his wife] lifed in a cottage so they weren’t in the main building. But they did go into the main building. They attended activities there. I think they had been in the cafeteria.”

Jean James, the victim's wife had been showing symptoms of Coronavirus. Her family told NBC 5 on Friday, the 75-year-old woman is doing much better and has not had a fever in several days.

The facility’s spokesperson shared a photograph of the first responders parked outside saying “the test results will help ease the tension and uncertainty for all.”

The joint response team will be conducting the tests in order help to mitigate potential spread of the virus at the Masonic Retirement Center.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

Coronavirus Cases in Texas

Locations on the map are approximate county locations and are not intended to identify where any infected people live.

Case data was pulled from a variety of sources including county health departments and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

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