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Tennessee releases number of COVID-19 cases at nursing homes

Posted at 7:34 AM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 17:30:13-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — The Tennessee Department of Health released the number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes throughout the state. This comes after NewsChannel 5 Investigates spent weeks pushing the state for information.

On Wednesday, families were finally granted access to the number of cases and deaths in the facility in which their loved one lives.

Prior to this, the state was releasing only the name of the long-term care facilities with with two or more cases of COVID-19. For example, Nashville Community Care and Rehabilitation in Bordeaux would be on that list as having two or more patients, when in reality, they had 18 residents and eight staff members who tested positive.

In addition to the number of cases, the state will also released the number of deaths at each facility. The Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing will be on that list, with more than 20 deaths.

The list is also updated on the Department of Health's website.

The numbers, however are not completely up-to-date. The count from the state of multiple facilities is lower than the count being provided by the facilities themselves.

For example, at the Metro-owned nursing home in Bordeaux, the list says there have been 25 cases and no deaths. Yet, the facility says 31 people there have tested positive and one person has died.

Also, the state reports only 19 people at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing have died from COVID-19, but sources say there have actually been more like 24.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey explained during the governor's COVID-19 briefing Wednesday that health officials expect the state's numbers to be behind what's reported by the facilities due to the health department's confirmation process.

She said the discrepancy in the number of deaths is because the state doesn't confirm a death until they receive a death certificate rather than word from families or facilities.

Nursing home officials are also mandated to inform residents and families within 12 hours of finding out about a positive case of the coronavirus. If they don’t report, it could lead to enforcement.

MORE TENNESSEE COVID-19 COVERAGE

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COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES IN TENNESSEE

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.