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COVID-19 outbreaks in East TN nursing homes killed at least 19 more people in past week

Nearly 13% of the nearly 9,100+ long-term care residents who contracted COVID-19 have died as cases continue to rise.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — UPDATE (11/20): 19 more residents of long-term care facilities in East Tennessee have died, meaning at least 54 residents in East Tennessee have died in the past three weeks. 

The latest data from the Tennessee Department of Health shows hundreds of new cases reported between residents and staff of long-term care facilities in the area.

In the largest facilities, 282 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Knox, Blount, Anderson, Scott, Sevier, Monroe, Roane and Jefferson counties. Of those, 184 were residents.

Some of the outbreaks have greatly worsened in the past week. 

Signature Healthcare of Rockwood reported 55 new resident cases and 29 staff cases this week, having only 20 cases total the week prior. Huntsville Health and Rehabilitation in Scott County reported 34 new resident COVID-19 cases and 12 positive staff after having only 21 cases reported the week prior. 

Original Story:

Tennessee's long-term care facilities are dealing with unprecedented outbreaks of COVID-19 that have claimed the lives of 35 residents in East Tennessee alone in the past two weeks.

The Tennessee Department of Health's latest report on confirmed COVID-19 clusters in long-term care facilities in the state show that there have been 8,186 residents total infected with COVID-19, and 1,119 of them have died. That means nearly 14% of residents have died after contracting the virus.

There have been 7,141 staff members also diagnosed with COVID-19, however TDH does not report staff deaths. 

New resident deaths and cases have been reported in assisted care facilities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Fentress, Grainger, Hamblen, Knox, and Monroe counties. Below is a list of the facilities and the changes reported in the past two weeks: 

NHC Healthcare, Oak Ridge (Anderson)

Resident Cases: 50 (+43 in two weeks)

Resident Deaths: 4 (+4 in two weeks)
Staff Cases: 66 (+29 in two weeks)

Asbury Place at Maryville (Blount)

Resident Cases: 25 (+14)

Resident Deaths: 3 (+2)
Staff Cases: 29 (+9)

Beech Tree Health and Rehabilitation (Campbell)

Resident Cases: 57 (no change)

Resident Deaths: 7 (+2)
Staff Cases: 26 (+2)

Signature Healthcare of Fentress County (Fentress)

Resident Cases: 51 (+6)

Resident Deaths: 6 (no change)
Staff Cases: 62 (+10)

Ridgeview Terrace of Life Care (Grainger)

Resident Cases: 93 (+13)

Resident Deaths: 9 (+9)
Staff Cases: 48 (+19)

The Heritage Center (Hamblen)

Resident Cases: 66 (no change)

Resident Deaths: 19 (+1)
Staff Cases: 56 (+4)

Arbor Terrace of Knoxville (Knox)

Resident Cases: 38 (+29)

Resident Deaths: 4 (+4)
Staff Cases: 29 (+25)

Beverly Park Place Health and Rehab (Knox)

Resident Cases: 26 (+1)

Resident Deaths: 2 (+1)
Staff Cases: 32 (no change)

Holston Health and Rehabilitation Center (Knox)

Resident Cases: 2 (+2)

Resident Deaths: 1 (+1)
Staff Cases: 1 (+1)

Morning Pointe of Powell (Knox)

Resident Cases: 8 (no change)

Resident Deaths: 3 (+3)
Staff Cases: 4 (+1)

NHC Place, Cavette Hill (Knox)

Resident Cases: 10 (+4)

Resident Deaths: 1 (+1)
Staff Cases: 4 (+1)

Madisonville Health and Rehab Center (Monroe)

Resident Cases: 31 (no change)

Resident Deaths: 4 (+4)
Staff Cases: 15 (+2)

Sweetwater Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Monroe)

Resident Cases: 40 (-1)

Resident Deaths: 11 (+3)
Staff Cases: 18 (no change)

Health officials continue to urge people to take measures such as wearing a mask and not gathering in groups to prevent public spread of the virus, as the more the virus multiplies, the greater the chance it will eventually find its way to high-risk patients ,long-term care facility staff and residents, despite best efforts internally to prevent that. 

As of Friday, 21 people in East Tennessee had died within the past day from COVID-19, which impacted nearly every county. Knox County reported 3 new COVID-19 deaths the same day. The state reported 64 new deaths in total, which is the fourth-highest single-day change. 

Current hospitalizations in the state have hit all-time highs as of Friday with at least 1,792 people currently hospitalized. Active COVID-19 cases continue to trend up, and Tennessee saw its third-highest level of 3,733 new cases Friday.