People living at Dallas apartment concerned about lack of information after resident's positive COVID-19 test

An apartment complex in Dallas reported earlier this week that one of its residents tested positive for COVID-19.

Some residents feel they aren't getting enough information to help keep the community safe.

Management at the Amli Design District sent out an email to the apartment community, saying that a resident tested positive and is in self-quarantine.

But in order to protect their privacy, management said they cannot say what apartment they are in, what floor they live on, nor notify neighbors.

That's what residents are concerned about.

"My mom is fighting lung cancer and my dad has heart problems and they're older, so I don't even want to come near them," Jodie Johnson said.

Johnson said spreading the virus to her parents is her biggest fear.

And that was her first thought when her apartment complex told residents someone had tested positive for COVID-19.

"Before they even started getting symptoms, they were walking around for, you know, what is it, two to 14 days before symptoms show up?" she added.

Amli Design District is located near Interstate 35E and Hi Line Drive.

Management said they were notified of the positive test result Tuesday night.

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They alerted residents in an email, explaining that the person had already been in self-quarantine for nine days and remains in quarantine.

Not in the email, because of privacy laws, were details of what apartment that person is in, or what floor they live on.

Amli staff said that they are also not allowed to notify those living next door to the infected person, something Johnson feels is necessary.

"Make the decision on whether we actually step out of the apartment or not. try to make, maybe make other means for the dogs. or give somebody else the dogs to take care of that has a backyard or just, you know, give a more defined decision of how we're going to self-quarantine ourselves and how we're going to protect ourselves," she explained.

FOX4 took those concerns to Dallas County, to see whether any exceptions could be made during this current crisis.

Lauren Trimble - chief of staff for Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, said, "healthcare privacy laws were created for these types of situations -- where we have to balance public safety with personal privacy."

But as for making an exception or change to any sort of privacy law during this current crisis, that would need to happen at the state or federal level.

"Why not? I mean like the cruise ship, I mean they wouldn’t even let them go off the cruise ship for days and how come? Because they were in a facility that housed all these people. So what's the difference between us and this building? So I think it should be looked at," Johnson said.

Trimble said tenants who are sick should be following CDC and Dallas County Health & Human Services by self-isolating.

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She also pointed out that it’s the responsibility of each apartment building to do routine cleaning of common spaces, like elevators, which is what Amli Design District has been doing for weeks.

Even stepping up efforts by cleaning the elevator every 10 minutes and placing blue tape on the ground to promote social distancing.

Johnson hopes that will be enough.

"Who knows how many other people are actually feeling sick, or infected, or what they touched," she added.

The Apartment Association of Greater Dallas said that during this time, apartments are trying to be fair by making residents aware of potential exposure, but also protecting privacy.