All Tennessee nursing home residents, staff must be tested for COVID-19 by June 30

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Posted at 8:36 AM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 09:46:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee has released new rules for nursing homes across the state to help protect residents and staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group released a report on Friday, saying the Department of Health now requires each nursing home to complete an “intent to test” survey prior to June 1.

Additionally, all nursing home residents and staff must be tested by June 30.

Long-term care facilities that don’t comply face penalties, including license revocation, license suspension, and fines.

The state says nearly 100% of long-term care facilities have completed the Department’s initial survey so far. Officials said 60% of facilities have already completed or scheduled testing of residents and staff.

The state also says 20% of facilities have material needs – such as test kits and PPE – which will be delivered within the next seven days. The remaining 20% need staffing assistance to complete testing, which the state says will be provided by the National Guard and completed within the next two weeks.

Facilities must also remain closed to visitors during this time.

According to the state, long-term care residents make up nearly 40% of all COVID-19-related deaths in Tennessee.


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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.