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Shelter-in-place ordered for The Woodlands retirement community after 12 COVID-19 cases confirmed

THE WOODLANDS, Texas – Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough issued a shelter-in-place order Monday for a senior living facility in The Woodlands after there were 12 coronavirus cases confirmed there.

As of Tuesday night, residents of The Conservatory at Alden Bridge are ordered to shelter in place for the next two weeks. According to the order, any resident who did not want to shelter-in-place at The Conservatory at Alden Bridge, had until 6 p.m. on Tuesday to move out.

Dan and Audie Russel already had plans to move their loved ones from the senior living center to an assisted living facility, they just did not think they’d be moving so quickly.

“We’re kinda crunched for time,” Dan Russel said.

Per the county order, Russel’s in-laws, aged 88 and 92, still have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The order also details that anyone who picks up a resident from the facility must also self-quarantine for two weeks.

According to the order, any resident who leaves to stay with family or friends must continue to self-quarantine and will not be permitted to re-enter the property until April 13.

The only exemptions to the order are personnel required to maintain the facility, food services, medical professionals, caregivers and law enforcement.

Diana Thies, a spokeswoman with the Conservatory at Alden Bridge, said the facility has 12 confirmed cases. Thies was not able to confirm whether all the patients were residents.

A woman dropping off food and medication for her 89-year-old father said he hasn’t left his room for 12 days.

“I came up here the other day and he was sitting out on his balcony, and we got to wave to each other,” she said.

According to the woman, her father is healthy. However, she is concerned the isolation is taking a toll on his mental health.

“My sister and I call him and talk to him, but I can tell he’s sad,” she said. “He’s going downhill. He’s not getting exercise, his blood is not flowing. He’s going down.”

On Thursday, the Conservatory at Alden Bridge Facebook page posted that two residents tested positive for the virus. Since then, the number of cases has grown.

Alex Elguezable stopped by Monday to drop off a care package for his friends.

“It concerns them,” Elguezable said. “They’re keeping their distance, staying inside, practicing social distancing.”

Elguezable said his friends are not ill but they told him they have not heard from management in days.

It’s a concern shared by others with loved ones living at the facility.

“I wish they would be a little more open. I have had to call and ask questions and they will answer my questions. It’s just, they don’t seem to be forthcoming with information,” Elguezable said.

Judge Keough called the facility a “hot bed of activity” and has ordered no one enter or leave the property with the exception of essential staff, health care workers and law enforcement.

According to the Montgomery County Public Health District, there are 93 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus within the county. Twelve of those cases stem from The Conservatory at Alden Bridge.

“We are concerned,” Judge Keough said. “We have got high-risk individuals in an area where each of their particular living spaces are their own home connected by a hallway. There are 7 or 8 buildings in this compound.”

The shelter-in-place order will remain in effect until April 13. Judge Keough said he would extend it if necessary.