PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Nursing homes and senior living communities have been hit hard by COVID-19. But there are some senior facilities that have managed to avoid widespread coronavirus cases.

The Palazzo Senior Living Community in Phoenix was one of the first to lock its campus down and require everyone to wear masks have their temperature checked.

Months later, those early precautions appear to be paying off. All 400 residents and staff members were tested for COVID-19 last week. So far, fewer than 10 have tested positive.

Palazzo Communications director Mark Aronauer said their proactive approach to health and safety, which started back in March, is the reason their COVID-19 numbers are lower than other senior facilities across the country.

"The goal is to have zero cases anywhere, but we all know that’s not the way of the world right now, so keeping cases low was the ultimate goal,” said Aronauer. “We started wearing masks, probably sooner than a lot of other communities did. Anything we could do to mitigate the spread of he infection.”

Palazzo has also closed dining rooms, cancelled group activities and banned all visits if they are not for a medical purpose.

Grandmother Lucy Conner has lived at Palazzo for six months. She said it's been challenging, but the extra health measures appear to have paid off. “That’s how I look at it – I have to be vigilant and pay attention to all the rules and regulations and that means I have to change my way of thinking and have to do things in a different way, but it's for my own good,” said Conner.  “I’m sure we’d have a lot more sick people if we didn’t practice what they tell us to do."

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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