ARLINGTON, Texas — Heartis Arlington, an assisted living and memory care community in Arlington, will test all of its 80 residents and 75 staff to detect if anyone in the community has contracted COVID-19.
Two positive COVID-19 cases have been identified from Heartis residents who were transferred on March 18 and 22, respectively, to Medical City Arlington after exhibiting symptoms and where they are now being treated and improving.
Heartis Arlington enacted advanced staff training to detect symptoms and established protocols in February, and visitor restrictions were put in place shortly thereafter. Upon learning of the positive cases, the staff immediately implemented Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) infection control guidelines.
However, leadership at Heartis Arlington became concerned when they realized that communication of the two patients’ positive statuses was never relayed by the Medical City Arlington to the seniors housing community. Rather, Heartis learned from communication with the families of those impacted — a full six days after the resident was transferred for testing.
“Our team from Frontier Management reported the positive cases to the Arlington Health Department as soon as they were made aware per our regulatory responsibility under the Texas Department of Health and Human Services,” says Jason Signor, chief executive officer and partner for Caddis HealthCare Real Estate, owner of Heartis Arlington. “Our concern was if we weren’t hearing from the hospital, [the health department wasn’t] either. In fact, they weren’t.”
The Arlington Health Department determined the risk warranted the unusual step of proactive testing of all on the Heartis campus, which began March 27 and will continue over several days until complete with all residents and staff.
“While we know it feels a bit disconcerting to have these extra medical personnel here for many of our residents, we are thrilled to work with the health department to ensure the safety of our community and each and every member of our family here,” adds Valarie Zito, executive director of Heartis Arlington. “If testing everyone is what it takes, we are happy to partner to do so.”