12 more deaths in past week, new COVID cases slow in long-term care facilities

Local Coronavirus Coverage

Fewer new COVID-19 cases are being reported in Northeast Tennessee nursing homes and more residents are recovering, though 85 have died.

(WJHL) – Fewer new COVID-19 cases were reported in Northeast Tennessee long-term care facilities the past week — the second straight week of slowing growth in new cases according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH).

An additional 12 deaths, though, brought to 85 the number of residents who have died from COVID in Northeast Tennessee outbreaks since July. New data showing resident cases, staff cases, resident deaths and resident recoveries are reported each Friday.

Half of Northeast Tennessee’s deaths in the past week were linked to long-term care, and 59 percent of the region’s 145 deaths have been of people living at facilities where outbreaks have occurred.

Lifecare of Greeneville suffered seven of the 12 deaths in the past week, bringing its total to 10. Signature Health of Greeneville has had 15 deaths, with the two nursing homes accounting for more than two-thirds of Greene County’s 36 deaths.

The total number of resident cases rose by just 18, to 597. The previous week there had been 61 new cases, and the two weeks prior had each seen nearly 100 new cases.

There were 39 resident recoveries, bringing that total to 468. Combined with the 85 deaths that leaves just 46 residents not already recovered or dead from the virus.

The mortality rate among those who have recovered or died is more than 15 percent.

An additional 22 cases were reported among staff, bringing that number to 422. The total number of staff and resident cases thus crested 1,000 this past week.

At this point, long-term care residents and staff account for just under 13 percent of total cases in the region with residents totaling about 7.5 percent — and 59 percent of deaths.

Lifecare of Greeneville had just 27 cases three weeks ago. That number spiked to 71 over the next two weeks, and the facility still has 22 positive residents who haven’t recovered or died.

No other facility has more than a handful of outstanding cases. Three facilities — Christian Care Center of Unicoi County and Erwin Health Care Center, both in Erwin, and Sycamore Springs in Elizabethton — came off the outbreak list this week.

Clusters are closed when 28 days have passed since the last exposure to a case within the facility, according to the TDH website.

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