Updates Regarding COVID-19

Update from Gary Blair, Superintendent, Texas Masonic Retirement Center
Sept. 30, 2020

TMRC Campus Re-Opening With Restrictions
Limited Visits Now Allowed
Effective Oct. 1, 2020

We’re glad to again welcome visitors, with limitations, to Texas Masonic Retirement Center including the Nursing Care Area and all independent living areas. We ask for your patience and understanding as we schedule visits on a limited basis in order to protect the health of residents, employees, and others. 

Join us on a conference call hosted by Gary Blair, Superintendent,
to go over the new visitation rules and answer your questions.

Conference Call Q & A on Visiting TMRC
Dial 817-704-3880 and you’ll be connected to the conference call.
No password needed. Announce your name and you’re on the call! 

Conference Call Dates & Times – Attend one or all

    • Wed., Sept. 30, at 6 pm
    • Thursday, Oct. 1, at 10:30 am

Overview–How to visit your loved one at Texas Masonic Retirement Center

  • TMRC residents may name up to 2 people as “Essential Caregivers.”  This is a permanent decision and cannot be changed unless there are major changes in the caregivers’ status. This is a governmental requirement to protect all from exposure to COVID-19 by strictly limiting those allowed in the building. Residents have been given forms to complete for naming “Essential Caregivers.” 

    Essential Caregivers must meet these requirements
  • Before Visit to TMRC
      • Complete advance training (about 15 minutes) and forms on
          • Use of proper protective equipment (mask covering mouth and nose in most cases)
          • Infection control measures
          • Hand hygiene
          • Cough and sneeze etiquette
      • Schedule your visit in advance with TMRC staff by calling 817-275-2893
      • Purchase your own protective equipment as described in training
  • Upon Arrival at TMRC
      • Arrive at designated entry door for visitors
      • Visitors must wear protective equipment described in training
      • Present a photo ID
      • Present proof of a negative COVID-19 test performed within the last 14 days of your visit. Check out this website for locations across Texas: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/testing.aspx
      • Allow screening for any sign and symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory illness
  • During the Visit
      • TMRC staff will escort visitors to and from the resident’s location for a visit lasting up to 2 hours
      • Visitors cannot interact with any other resident
      • Visitors cannot visit more than one resident at a time, even if they are deemed an “Essential Caregiver” for more than one resident. 
  • Other Visiting Options 
      • Not an “Essential Caregiver,” but still want to visit a resident at TMRC? 
          • “Visits Through the Glass Door” are a unique opportunity to visit a loved one in the Nursing Care Area without entering a building at TMRC. All details about these visits are outlined as you scroll down the page. 
          • Outdoor visits are allowed, but not encouraged, for residents of our independent living areas. All details about these visits are outlined as you scroll down the page

“Visits Through the Glass Door”
Nursing Care Area Residents Welcome Visitors

We’re delighted to announce our first limited visits between families, friends, and residents living our Nursing Care Area through our “Visits Through the Glass Door.”

As we slowly allow visits, we continue our concern for the health and happiness of our residents and remain in compliance with regulations.

We know it’s not a hug and kiss, but it is a face-to-face visit, with only a pane of glass separating loved ones.

Rules for “Visits Through the Glass Door”

Where is the Glass Door?
The glass door is an exterior clear glass door opening into a parlor in the Nursing Care Area.

How does a “Visit Through the Glass Door” take place?

  • The resident will sit comfortably near a glass door in a parlor inside the Nursing Care Area. The visitor will sit on the opposite side of the glass door in a chair provided by our staff. The visitor will be completely outdoors.
  • The glass door separating the visitor and resident remains closed and locked during the entire visit.
  • A member of TMRC staff will stay with the resident to assist with the visit and to meet any other needs.  
  • At this time, conversations will be through cell phones and speaker phones. 
  • Visitors cannot enter the Nursing Care Area or any part of the building.
  • Due to the size of the parlor and arrangements needed to offer these visits, no more than one visit may occur at any time. The area will be sanitized before and after each visit.
  • Residents and visitors must wear face coverings over the mouth and nose at all times (as tolerated). Staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as always.
  • Visits will require advance scheduling by calling 817-275-2893. This is due to the need to schedule staff to accompany the resident and for the additional cleaning required before and after each visit

    How do I schedule a visit?

  • We invite you to call our office at 817-275-2893 to request a visit.
  • Visiting days and times may be limited due to staffing requirements, but we will do our best to accommodate everyone as quickly as possible.

General Visitation Policy at Texas Masonic Retirement Center
Nursing Care Area Visitation 
Visits are allowed in the Nursing Care Area if you have completed all requirements  to become an “Essential Caregiver” or if the visit is “medically necessary.”  Medically necessary visits are those allowed in extraordinary circumstances, such as end-of-life situations. These visits must be scheduled and approved in advance by the Superintendent. All  other visitors are welcome to chat with residents in our, “Through the Glass Door” program. 

Independent Living Area Visitation 
Visits to residents of any independent living area are allowed by those meeting the requirements for “Essential Caregivers” or deemed, by the Superintendent, to be “medically necessary.” Medically necessary visits are those allowed in extraordinary circumstances, such as end-of-life situations. These visits must be scheduled and approved in advance by the Superintendent. Otherwise, no visitors are allowed to enter any building on the campus.

HOWEVER, independent living residents may meet with visitors outdoors in a well-ventilated area.

While it is not recommended, you may meet with your family or friends  OUTDOORS with these restrictions:

      • No more than 3 visitors at any one time
      • Social distancing is practiced at all times
      • Visitors must wear a mask at all times
      • Residents must wear a mask at all times
      • Limit your visit to no more than 30 minutes
      • No visitor enters any building on the TMRC campus — for any reason!

Let us continue to work together to protect the health and safety of yourself, your neighbors, and our staff!

Update from Gary Blair, Superintendent, Texas Masonic Retirement Center
Additional Update July 6, 2020
New Updates on July 6, 2020, shown in red for COVID-19 Prevention Plan
(Effective June 1, 2020)

UPDATE:An employee of Texas Masonic Retirement Center reported a positive COVID-19 test on July 5, 2020. The employee showed no symptoms while on duty. As with all employees, this person wore proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times while performing job duties. At this time, we have no reason to believe that any other staff person or resident was exposed. We have been and will continue to monitor all residents and staff  for possible infection. The employee is recovering at home.  

We remind you again to practice social distancing, wear a mask any time you are outside your room, wash your hands often, and limit those you are near. 

Remember–if you feel sick, stay in your room and call the Wellness Nurse. We are here to support you and need your cooperation. 

New Requirements for Residents Who Leave Campus

UPDATE: Residents who leave the campus ARE REQUIRED to wear a mask for 14 days each time the resident leaves his or her room.  The mask should cover your mouth and nose.  If you cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, you are asked to quarantine instead.

UPDATE: Residents who leave campus and know they have been exposed or likely exposed to COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days. Your quarantine helps us monitor your health condition and provide extra support or medical care. In addition, your quarantine helps protect other residents–your friends and neighbors–and staff from exposure to this deadly virus. Your decision may save lives, including your own. 

UPDATE: Residents who leave the campus and, to their knowledge, have not been exposed or likely exposed to COVID-19 are not required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return. You are required to wear a mask for 14 days when outside your accommodation. 

Residents should take all precautions to protect themselves while off campus —

  • Avoid gatherings of 8 or more
  • Wash your hands often
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Practice social distancing – 6 ft apart – at all times
  • Wear a mask

Remember, your age group is the most likely to have bad results from this virus!

Group Gatherings On Campus Allowed – With Restrictions

Residents will be allowed to gather in groups of up to 8, however, social distancing precautions must be taken.

Group dining remains on hold. We will continue to deliver meals to your rooms.

The Activity Department will not schedule any group activities.

The Transportation Department will only schedule “Medically Necessary” appointments.

Temperature Checks – Need Your Cooperation 

Residents are still required to report their temperatures to the Wellness Department daily. Please help the staff do this by calling in your temperature. This is a tremendous help and your participation is greatly appreciated.

If you show any signs or symptoms of the COVID virus, or any other illness, you must remain in your room and notify the Wellness Nurse.

Visitation Policy Updates

There will be NO CHANGE to the current policies of the nursing home area at this time.

There will be NO CHANGE to the visitation policy for visitors entering buildings on campus. No person other than those deemed, by the Superintendent, to be “Critically Necessary” will be allowed to enter any building on the campus. HOWEVER, residents may meet with visitors outdoors in a well-ventilated area.

While it is not recommended, you may meet with your family or friends  OUTDOORS with these restrictions:

  • No more than 3 visitors at any one time
  • Social distancing is practiced at all times
  • Visitors must wear a mask at all times
  • Residents must wear a mask at all times
  • Limit your visit to no more than 30 minutes
  • No visitor enters any building on the TMRC campus — for any reason!

Let us continue to work together to protect the health and safety of you, your neighbors, and our staff!

Updates from Gary Blair, Superintendent, Texas Masonic Retirement Center
As of April 23, 2020

New Milestone – No COVID-19 Positive Tests on TMRC Campus Today
Today we reached another milestone as we put additional distance between COVID-19 and our staff and residents.  We are grateful to announce that we no longer have any person on our campus with a positive test for COVID-19.  

Until today, we continued to closely monitor and support the one resident in the independent living area who, although feeling completely healthy, had continued to test positive. We are happy for this person and cautiously celebrate today.

We also give a virtual hug to every resident, every employee, and every person who has stood with us as we practice strict social distancing, hand washing, disinfecting regimens, and phone or online fellowship. As we’ve said before, we MUST continue to protect ourselves. We cannot let down our guard with this insidious virus.

Commendation from City of Arlington & Tarrant County Public Health 
TMRC  Named “Model to Follow” for COVID-19 Response
April 6, 2020
City of Arlington letter

April 1, 2020

On April 1, we returned to a “new normal” after 14 days in isolation for all residents of Texas Masonic Retirement Center.  Our lives will be anything but normal so long as COVID-19 is spreading in our area.

We MUST work this plan together to protect the health and safety of all residents and staff. 

TMRC COVID-19 ACTION PLAN – After Isolation
Due to the ever-changing information relating to this virus, this plan is fluid and will be updated when and if conditions warrant. We will continue to monitor CDC, CMS, state and local health department guidelines and implement changes as necessary.

The majority of this plan pertains to the Independent Living section as existing policies and procedures are in place for the Clinic.

While the Action Plan addresses the COVID-19 (corona) virus, it is the goal of TMRC to protect the health and safety of its residents and staff from all hazards.

ISOLATION PERIOD
All residents were placed in isolation on or before 10 pm on March 17, 2020. All residents and active staff were tested for  COVID-19 on March 20 and 21, 2020. On March 31, residents had been in isolation for 14 days. 

LIFTING ISOLATION
On Wednesday, April 1, residents who exhibited no signs of COVID-19 were released from isolation. Any resident who was confirmed positive remained in isolation until released by the Tarrant County Health Department. Isolated residents were permitted no visitation.

TRAVEL or LEAVING TMRC CAMPUS FOR ANY REASON
Residents are discouraged from leaving the campus for any reason. Any resident who leaves the facility — for any reason, must (1) Notify the Wellness Nurse and (2) Self-isolate for a period of no less than 14 days.

The virus is just getting a firm foothold in the community at large. There is no real need for residents to leave the campus and risk exposure. Or, risk bringing the exposure back to our campus. If an item can’t be delivered, TMRC staff will pick it up for you. For doctor’s appointments, we are asking residents to call and request a phone conference. 

STAFF SCREENING
All staff members will be screened and have their temperatures taken before reporting for duty. Any staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature >99.0 will not be allowed to report to duty. Any staff member exhibiting symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus will be immediately released from duty until cleared to return.

VISITATION
NO VISITATION IS ALLOWED, either in the independent living areas or the nursing home area, other than visits that are “medically necessary”, until further notice. Exceptions will be considered under extraordinary circumstances, such as end-of-life situations. These visits must be scheduled and approved in advance by the Superintendent.

MONITORING TEMPERATURES OF RESIDENTS
All residents will monitor their temperature twice daily and report the results to the Wellness Nurse (Wn). The WN will keep a log of reported temperatures and assist in obtaining results that are not reported. Any resident with temperature greater than 99.0 will be required to self-isolate until the individual has more than 24 hours with a temperature less than 99.0. Any resident exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to isolate until such time as they have more than 24 hours without symptoms.

ISOLATION FOR POSITIVE COVID-19 RESIDENTS
Any resident who tested or tests positive for COVID-19 is required to remain in isolation until release by the Tarrant County Health Department. Any resident who feels it appropriate to self-isolate, for whatever reason, is asked to do so and to notify the Wellness Nurse of their decision. Any resident with a temperature greater than 99.0 is required to self-isolate until their temperature is less than 99.0 for 24 hours. The Wellness Nurse will keep a list of all active isolations. Residents in isolation will remain in isolation until cleared by the Wellness Nurse. Isolation procedures for nursing home area residents will continue to follow existing policies and procedures.

The Wellness Nurse or a designee will contact each independent living resident in isolation twice daily to ensure their needs are being met.

The Wellness Nurse will ensure proper signage is placed upon the room where a resident is isolated. No person my enter an isolation room other than staff in proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) Staff will at all times wear proper PPE.

REVERSE ISOLATION
All staff will practice REVERSE ISOLATION procedures for all residents other than those in isolation. Masks must be worn by staff members any time they are in the presence, or there is reasonable expectation of being in the presence, of a resident. Staff members must wear masks and gloves anytime they are handling resident items or during meal preparation.

SOCIAL DISTANCING
Residents are prohibited from gathering in groups of more than 5 individuals and should at all times practice social distancing and remain at least 6 feet from others. When not necessary in the performance of their duties, staff members are prohibited in gathering in groups of more than 3 individuals and must practice social distancing when possible.

DINING
Communal dining is prohibited until further notice. All meals will be delivered to resident rooms for those residing in independent living. Residents in the nursing home area are required to eat in their rooms. There is no communal dining in the nursing home area until further notice.

ACTIVITIES
All outings and group activities are cancelled until further notice. The Activity Department will provide 1:1 and room activities for nursing home residents.

TRANSPORTATION
The Transportation Department will reschedule / cancel all appointments other than those deemed medically necessary.

Residents with their own transportation are strongly discouraged from leaving the campus and even more strongly discouraged from leaving and attending any function or situation in which more than 5 others are gathered. Any resident who leaves the facility — for any reason, must (1) Notify the Wellness Nurse and (2) Self-isolate for a period of no less than 14 days.

BUILDING ENTRY AND KEY CARD ACCESS
Key fob access for the nursing home area is restricted to employees only. Residents do not have access to this door. Residents have been reminded and signage has been placed notifying residents not to open any doors to allow visitors access.

EDUCATION
Staff and residents will continue to be educated on symptoms and prevention of COVID-19. Hand washing and social distancing are promoted.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS – To help you better understand our recent response to COVID-19

What were the results of recent COVID 19 testing of TMRC employees and residents?
We shared the good news that 210 employees and residents tested negative for COVID 19 – meaning that, at the time of testing on March 20 and 21, 2020, they did not have the virus.  Unfortunately, four of this group of residents and employees tested positive, in addition to the deceased resident already reported.  The employees who tested positive had already been in self-isolation at home well before testing. The residents, who both live in the independent living areas, continue in isolation and their condition is also improving. All residents had been in isolation for a week prior to testing. We cannot share any other details as this would violate HIPAA privacy laws. However, we ask for your continued prayers and expressions of concern as we walk through this challenging time with those who are so dear to our hearts.

Were residents and staff at Texas Masonic Retirement  tested for COVID 19?
Yes, a team of medical responders from the Arlington Fire Department, Texas Department of State Health Services, and Tarrant County Public Health tested all residents and staff members of the Texas Masonic Retirement Center on Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21. We cannot share results of these tests due to HIPAA privacy laws, but we will continue all stringent precautions and provide medical care if needed. 

How did Texas Masonic Retirement Center act to protect residents from coronavirus (COVID 19) after the diagnosis of a resident in our duplex cottage independent living area?

  • Hand-delivered a letter to every resident in the independent living apartments and duplexes advising them on steps for self-quarantine. We discussed these same restrictions with residents of our nursing home area. 
  • Cooperated fully with the Texas Department of Health and the Tarrant County Department of Health, as well as other professionals, to help prevent further exposure and identify all who may have been exposed to this resident. As testing for residents became available, we fully cooperated with this action. 
  • All residents were placed in isolation in their rooms in the independent living apartments and duplexes, as well as the nursing home area.  The majority of our residents live independently.
  • No face-to-face contact took place unless absolutely required due to the resident’s health condition. Employees wore wearing protective clothing if contact was necessary. 
  • All meals were delivered to residents in the independent living areas and left outside their doors to limit staff exposure. Residents in the nursing home area continued to receive the same meal delivery as required by their physical condition. Employees wore wearing protective clothing as needed. 
  • Ongoing closure to ALL visitors to the nursing home area and entire campus.
  • Every resident and every employee was screened twice daily for coronavirus symptoms. Employees were screened before they reported for duty and were relieved of  duties to go home if symptoms are discovered.
  • Continued the cancellation of all group activities.
  • Continued to remind residents and employees of the importance of frequent hand washing and social distancing. We are also used advanced infection control measures throughout our campus. 
  • All public activities and large campus events were cancelled until further notice.

How did the deceased resident contract coronavirus (COVID 19)?
We don’t know how the recently deceased resident may have picked up this illness. He lived in a duplex cottage in our independent living section just north of the main campus. These residents do not require nursing home care or close supervision. They are free to come and go as you and I would in our neighborhoods.

What  happened with the spouse of the person who passed away?
We were very concerned about this resident because we wanted to support her in this time of grief and because of the potential exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). Here’s the information we can share: 

  • 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 continued in isolation until this was lifted by health department officials.
  • We cannot discuss the medical condition of any resident per HIPAA privacy rules.
  • All meals were delivered to the spouse and left outside the door for staff protection.
  • Wellness phone calls were made every morning and evening to the spouse, with staff just a few minutes away if needed.
  • If needed, we were ready to coordinate her medical care.

What kind of precautions were you taking before this couple got sick?
Remember, the majority of our residents are considered as “independent living” status – just like you and me in our own homes. We normally do not monitor their lives. HOWEVER, we took a very aggressive stand on preventing the virus to the extent possible. Here is a list of ongoing and expanded actions:

  • Hand-delivered a letter to every resident in the independent living apartments and duplexes advising them on steps for self-quarantine. We discussed these same restrictions with residents of our nursing home area. 
  • Cooperated fully with the Texas Department of Health and the Tarrant County Department of Health, as well as other professionals, to help prevent further exposure and identify all who may have been exposed to this resident. As testing for residents became available, we fully cooperated with this action. 
  • All residents were placed in isolation in their rooms in the independent living apartments and duplexes, as well as the nursing home area.  The majority of our residents live independently.
  • No face-to-face contact took place unless absolutely required due to the resident’s health condition. Employees wore wearing protective clothing if contact was necessary. 
  • All meals were delivered to residents in the independent living areas and left outside their doors to limit staff exposure. Residents in the nursing home area continued to receive the same meal delivery as required by their physical condition. Employees wore wearing protective clothing as needed. 
  • Ongoing closure to ALL visitors to the nursing home area and entire campus.
  • Every resident and every employee was screened twice daily for coronavirus symptoms. Employees were screened before they reported for duty and were relieved of  duties to go home if symptoms are discovered.
  • Continued the cancellation of all group activities.
  • Continued to remind residents and employees of the importance of frequent hand washing and social distancing. We are also used advanced infection control measures throughout our campus. 
  • All public activities and large campus events were cancelled until further notice

What can I do if I was possibly exposed to a person who has coronavirus (COVID 19)?
We encourage you to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations–including the many ways you can work to prevent the disease–even if you don’t think you have been exposed. Here is a link to these guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Background:
Texas Masonic Retirement Center has been caring for older Masons and their loved ones for more than a century as a non-profit 501(c)3 facility providing independent living accommodations, meals, activities and more. At present, we offer independent living apartments and duplex cottages for 134 residents, of which 24 residents live in 12 cottage duplexes in a nearby residential setting.  We also provide nursing home care for 43 residents. 

Officers: Gary Blair, Superintendent
Location: 1501 W. Division St., Arlington, TX

Contact for press inquiries: 
Rhenda Gray,  Sundance Associates
Agency of Record – Texas Masonic Retirement Center
Office: 817-349-9344   Email: rhenda@sundanceassociates.net

Normal Business Hours (Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Gary Blair, Superintendent / Administrator: 817.275.2893 extension #14
Sharon Montani, Director of Nursing: 817.275.2893 extension #16

Outside of Normal Business Hours
RN Shift Supervisor: 817.275.2893 extension #15