Tennessee nursing home coronavirus outbreak leaves 2 dead; 101 hospitalized

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An outbreak of the coronavirus at one Tennessee nursing home left two dead and more than 100 others hospitalized by Sunday – a week after the state banned most visitors at extended-care facilities. 

Dozens of residents were evacuated from at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, located in Sumner County northeast of Nashville, on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19, Gov. Bill Lee said in a press release. National Guard troops arrived Saturday to begin testing all remaining residents and staff at the Gallatin Center.

Residents who tested positive were transported to one of several hospitals within the High Point Health System using an ambulance strike team of EMS professionals from Sumner, Cheatham, and Dickson counties, First Call, and MedicOne.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (right, at podium) speaks to reporters at Memphis International Airport about the state's response to the new coronavirus on Friday, March 27, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz).

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (right, at podium) speaks to reporters at Memphis International Airport about the state's response to the new coronavirus on Friday, March 27, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz).

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By Sunday, a total of 42 people had been admitted and remained in isolation at Sumner Regional Medical Center. Two people had died at the hospital after falling ill with COVID-19, the press release said.

Fifty-nine additional patients were to be transported to Sumner Regional Medical Center for admission between Sunday and Monday after their test results came back positive.

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Dozens of other non-critical patients were transported to other facilities for care: 14 to Trousdale Medical Center, 12 to Livingston Regional Hospital, and 8 to Riverview Regional Medical Center.

“Our hearts are with the residents and their families and all of those mourning loved ones during this difficult time,” the Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Sumner Regional Medical Center has activated our emergency plan, which expands our capacity of available beds. We stand ready and will continue serving our patients and community through this crisis.”

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Thirty-three members of the Gallatin Center staff tested positive and were asked to self-isolate at home.

The outbreak comes a week after Lee issued an executive order on March 22 banning most visitors at assisted living facilities and nursing homes to prevent the spread of infection.

Unified Command – a joint operation between the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Military and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency – also facilitated the deep cleaning and disinfecting of the Gallatin Center. The state also worked to support remaining staff and residents who did not test positive for COVID-19.