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21 residents, staff at Nashville nursing home test positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 8:55 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 06:39:33-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — COVID-19 has spread to a nursing home in Nashville where 15 residents and 6 staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Staff who have tested positive will not return to work without medical clearance.

The Metro Health Department said it has been conducting COVID-19 tests among residents and staff at the facility.

Nashville Community Care and Rehabilitation is owned by the city of Nashville, but it is run by Signature HealthCARE.

Signature HealthCARE said the first resident tested positive on April 13, after being transferred to a hospital. Two days later, the company obtained tests for all residents in one of the facility's wings and 71 staff were also tested.

The residents in the remaining wings will be tested, Signature HealthCARE said.

Ambulances were outside the Nashville Community Care and Rehabilitation in Bordeaux on Friday night.

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NewsChannel 5 has learned at least 10 patients have been taken to the hospital and five residents were transferred to the Signature HealthCARE facility in Putnam County.

On Friday, the company confirmed three residents at its Putnam County facility died from complications with the virus.

Two travel Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) actually approached NewsChannel 5 after the end of their shifts Saturday at Nashville Community Care and Rehabilitation. They claim they were not notified that this was a COVID-19 infected facility before they agreed to work here and also claim they were not given the proper personal protective equipment. If their allegations are true, the facility is not following proper protocol.

"Every time we go into a different room and touch a patient with the same gown and the same mask, they’re being exposed to whatever we just came out of," said one of the CNAs. Both women asked us not to use their name.

A spokesperson for Signature HealthCARE says the story these women are telling us, is not true. The spokesperson says the CNA's agency would have told them that this was a COVID-19 infected facility and that all their workers have plenty of PPE gear to perform their job safely.

State Rep. Vincent Dixie, whose district includes the facility, says overall he's struggled to get updated information from both the facility and the state of Tennessee.

"There’s no transparency in what’s happening with these nursing home and long care facilities," Rep. Dixie said.

Dixie says his focus is keeping families informed about their own loved ones.

"They want to know what’s going on. First, they want to know where their loved one is going to be transported and if they do come back, how do they know it’s going to be safe? How do they know it’s going to be cleaned?" said Dixie.

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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.

Prevention

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.