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Tennessee creates alternate care site in Nashville for COVID-19 patients

New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 1:53 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 14:53:29-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee plans to use an alternate care site at Metro Nashville General Hospital to treat COVID-19 cases if the number of patients surpasses hospital capacity.

The state announced the decision Thursday, saying the site is a “hospital within a hospital model,” designed to be able to activate and de-activate quickly if needed. They said it will provide a more efficient approach to meet potential needs of the city.

The space occupies two hospital floors -- totaling 26,292 square-feet -- and provides an additional 67 beds to treat COVID-19 patients if the region begins to exceed their existing hospital capacity.

“We have put in place a critical resource to meet local, COVID-19 patient care needs if required,” said Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP, Tennessee Department of Health. “Our hope is we do not have to activate the Nashville alternate care site; however, Nashville General will keep the facility on standby until TDH and Metro Nashville officials determine the extra patient capacity is needed for the region.”

Nashville General will provide medical direction for the care of coronavirus patients if the facility is occupied.

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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.