A woman who had helped administer COVID-19 tests at a Lewisville, TX, independent living community later returned to the community so she could steal from at least three residents, according to police.

Discovery Village at Castle Hills brought in a private company to test residents for the coronavirus. The company conducted the tests in the morning and was gone by mid-afternoon. A woman went to the community that evening, however, saying she needed to get a few more test samples and asking the residents for urine samples, according to police. When the residents returned from their bathrooms, they reportedly noticed jewelry missing from their rooms.

Police have arrested Laketha Calhoun and said she confessed to her actions, according to a media report. A representative of the lab hired by Discovery Village told a local television station that Calhoun was a contract worker for the lab but that she had identified herself as working for a different company when she entered the senior living community. According to police, Calhoun also is suspected of approaching a resident at a Brookdale Senior Living community in September, also posing as a medical worker for a lab looking for a urine sample.

A Discovery Village representative told the TV station that community staff members reviewed video surveillance and provided police with footage of the worker and the car she drove. “Discovery Village at Castle Hills did all they can, helped and cooperated fully with the police,” a statement from the company said.

In other coronavirus-related news:

  • Florida stopped paying for staff coronavirus testing at assisted living communities in September. The decision has led to confusion and finger-pointing in the Sunshine State’s long-term care industry, as smaller operators struggle with how to handle the cost of staff testing.
  • In-person visitation has resumed in Minnesota assisted living communities despite increasing COVID-19 cases in the state. The state Department of Health has issued guidelines stating that long-term care facilities that have not had a coronavirus case in the prior 14 rates and that are located in a county where the positivity rate is less than 10% can permit indoor visits. 
  • As COVID-19 cases surge across Montana, assisted living communities are said to be struggling to keep up with frequently changing regulations and staffing challenges. They now have to meet some standards originally tailored to nursing homes but are receiving little guidance from the state, according to a media report.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and state health officials have unveiled the state’s preliminary plan for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine for when one becomes available.  The first phase of planned distribution is separated into three sub-phases of priority: healthcare workers (including those working in assisted living communities), first responders, and residents in assisted living communities, nursing homes and other long-term care settings. The second phase includes those living in congregate care facilities and people at higher risk of contracting the virus who weren’t identified in the first phase, including adults aged 65 or more years who have pre-existing conditions.
  • New Hampshire’s assisted living operators long have struggled to attract and retain workers, a group of administrators told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen at a roundtable in Manchester. Gary Cahoon of the New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Homes said the problem is acute. Most assisted living communities have tiny staffs compared with nursing homes, which might be able to keep running while short-handed, he said. 
  • Lee University in Tennessee has begun live-streaming a class to Encore program students living in Legacy and Century Park Associates independent living communities who are unable to attend class in person due to the pandemic. The “Pandemic Playlist” class streams every Friday in October. Each community has a class facilitator. The program allows residents to connect with the outside world.
  • Using materials donated by local businesses, staff members at Edgewood Rapid City, an Iowa assisted living community, have built a hugging window to allow residents and their loved ones to safely embrace.