Arlington Masonic Home Residents To Be Tested for COVID-19 After Resident's Death

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says the residents of an Arlington Masonic home where a man infected with COVID-19 lived will be tested for the deadly contagion.

The governor traveled to Arlington Wednesday to discuss the situation unfolding at the Texas Masonic Retirement Center after a resident infected with the virus, 77-year-old Patrick James, died early Monday.

James was hospitalized Thursday with what he thought were flu symptoms. Two days later, on Saturday, he was tested for the infection. On Tuesday, a day after he died, his test results confirmed he'd contracted COVID-19.

James lived in a cottage on the property with his wife but had participated in activities in the main facility with other residents.

Gov. Greg Abbott is planning to visit Arlington to give information to emergency management and to see what is needed here. There are now 19 Texas counties with coronavirus cases.

Now, all residents of the retirement community will be tested for the infection and put into isolation. The Masonic home has also restricted all visitors from entering the campus.

"When I arrived in Arlington we had already received 2,500 test kits to assist in this process," said Gov. Abbott as he held up a collection of test kits.

On Wednesday, March 11, a day before James was hospitalized, the home had implemented infection control procedures throughout the campus. Following James' death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will now review those procedures and recommend any changes that may further protect the residents.

Health officials in Tarrant County confirmed Tuesday that a senior adult who tested positive for COVID-19, has died.

James, who had been diagnosed with double pneumonia, had not traveled anywhere and it is not yet clear how or where he acquired the virus.

James' wife, family members said, is also showing symptoms of COVID-19 and is being kept in isolation.

"The surviving spouse had been isolating for 13 days along with her husband prior to his death. The couple took this action as soon as he began feeling unwell.  The spouse continues in isolation until this is lifted by health department officials," according to the center's website. "We are making wellness phone calls every morning and evening to the spouse and are just a few minutes away if needed."

A spokesperson for The Texas Masonic Retirement Center said currently no visitors are allowed and that they're screening employees and residents twice a day for coronavirus symptoms.

Currently all residents are in isolation and there's no face-to-face contact taking place. Staff members are delivering meals to their front door.

Abbott said Wednesday there were 83 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state, including in each of the four most heavily populated counties in North Texas – Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton.

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