NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A fifth person has died from a coronavirus outbreak at a Tennessee nursing home that saw more than 100 people test positive.
Sumner Regional Medical Center spokesman Kyle Brogdon confirmed the death from the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing. State health officials have said more than 70 residents and more than 30 staffers tested positive at the facility, which was temporarily evacuated but has since allowed some residents to return.
The state contracted out a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the facility last Sunday and state Health Department nurses surveyed it starting Wednesday to ensure it was safe for residents to reenter, Department of Health spokeswoman Shelley Walker said.
Residents who tested negative or tested positive and recovered have since been allowed to reenter the facility, while residents who tested positive and are recovering remain at hospitals, Walker said.
A Cookeville nursing home has also seen an outbreak, saying Thursday that 44 people there had tested positive for COVID-19, 28 patients and 16 staff.
Signature Healthcare at Putnam County administrator Lee Rooney said in a news conference that after a couple of positive tests, the facility asked the health department to come in and do a blanket test of everyone there. They tested 320 people. Of those who tested positive, Rooney said the vast majority were showing no symptoms.
The facility said in a news release it would dedicate a wing for COVID-19 patients that will be isolated with its own entrance, supplies and staff.
Tennessee’s caseload has grown to more than 3,300, with at least 43 deaths, as the novel virus spreads. For the vast majority, symptoms clear up in several weeks without requiring hospitalization, but the consequences can be life-threatening for older people and those with existing health problems.
Meanwhile, state corrections officials said a prison inmate has tested positive for COVID-19 while he was in the hospital for an unrelated medical issue.
The Turney Center Industrial Complex inmate went to the hospital on March 25. On March 30, the day he was scheduled to leave, he developed a fever and was tested for COVID-19. The results returned positive on April 3, according to the Department of Correction.
The inmate will be held in isolation in a medical infirmary within the Department of Correction until he's deemed non-infectious, the department said.
Officials have quarantined and are watching for symptoms in two other inmates at Turney Center who may have been in contact with the inmate.
Late last month, criminal justice advocates asked the Tennessee Supreme Court in an emergency petition to order the release of a number of prisoners to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The court has ordered judges to submit a plan to reduce local jail populations.
On its website, the state Department of Correction has said "there are no plans for early release from TDOC prisons at this time because of the coronavirus."