GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — One of the residents evacuated from a Gallatin nursing home amid the COVID-19 outbreak has died. Forty remain hospitalized.
Dozens of elderly residents were evacuated from the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing late Friday night. Seventeen more patients who were showing symptoms were taken to the hospital on Saturday.
Sumner Regional Medical Center confirmed Saturday morning that the patients have been admitted and are currently in isolation at the hospital. One patient has died, marking the first COVID-19 death in Sumner County and bringing the statewide death toll to seven.
"Our hearts are with the residents and their families and all of those mourning loved ones during this difficult time. We stand ready and will continue serving our patients and community through this crisis," Sumner Regional Medical Center said in part.
Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown said 142 patients at the facility were tested on Saturday. Anyone who tests positive for the virus will be moved from the facility as soon as possible. A majority of the staff, 95 percent, have now been tested as well.
This is the same long-term care facility that had seen at least two positive cases this week. NewsChannel 5 Investigates was the first to report on the outbreak in Gallatin and was at the nursing home, watching the evacuation unfold.
Mayor Brown released a statement, saying the nursing home's administrator, Dawn Cochran, confirmed that state and county health officials are testing all patients on-site. Cochran said all staff, including those not working today, will also be tested today. The Tennessee National Guard is also on-site.
“Last night an unprecedented deployment of Emergency Medical personnel from Sumner County and surrounding areas responded and administered aid to these patients,” says Mayor Brown. “I am so grateful and so proud of the coordinated effort to care for these members of our community. This is a difficult time for all impacted by this virus, but especially for these patients and their families. Your thoughts and prayers for the deceased individual and their family, as well as the other patients and their families are needed and appreciated.”
At least one worker has tested positive for the virus. However, NewsChannel 5 was told several others have been tested and are showing symptoms.
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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:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- 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.