NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Sources tell NewsChannel 5 Investigates that at least 17 residents have now died after an outbreak of the coronavirus hit the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing.
Dozens of the nursing home’s residents remain hospitalized at Sumner Regional Medical Center but the hospital is no longer confirming information about those patients, including if they pass away.
Instead the hospital is referring all questions to the Tennessee Department of Health, but TDOH is not releasing any information about deaths from specific facilities.
But sources have confirmed multiple deaths have occurred in recent days, including a resident who died at the nursing home on April 8 and another who died Friday morning.
Originally the state Department of Health refused to release any information about the location of deaths related to coronavirus but reversed that decision after public outcry. Now the state is only reporting the number of deaths per county each day.
Information concerning coronavirus cases at nursing homes across Tennessee has been slow to materialize.
The state has been promising to release the number of cases at nursing homes for the past week but so far has not been able to provide that information despite repeated requests from NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
Two weeks ago, two dozen patients from the Gallatin Center were transported to the hospital with coronavirus or COVID-19 symptoms. Over the next three days, the remaining 150 patients were all moved out of the facility.
Last week, the state allowed the nursing home to reopen, despite strong objections by Sumner County and Gallatin city leaders.
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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.