71 new resident COVID cases, 9 deaths linked to NE Tennessee long term care facilities in last week

Local Coronavirus Coverage

More than 42 percent of Northeast Tennessee’s COVID-19 related deaths are attributed to outbreaks at long-term care facilities, where nearly 1,200 residents have so far been infected.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – An elevated trend of new resident COVID cases and reported deaths continued for the fifth week in Northeast Tennessee, according to a weekly data release from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH).

Nine new deaths and 71 new resident cases were reported, with The Wexford House in Kingsport accounting for 39 of the new cases. Mountain City Health and Rehabilitation and Lifecare in Elizabethton each reported three additional deaths.

New cases among staff totaled 76. The past two weeks have been the two highest single-week totals for new staff cases since News Channel 11 began tracking the numbers Aug. 21. Last week, 89 new staff cases were reported.

After a four-week starting in mid-September, new weekly long-term care resident COVID cases in Northeast Tennessee have averaged 92 the past five weeks.

Three facilities were removed from active outbreak status, all of them in Kingsport. They included Brookdale Rock Springs, Crown Cypress and Wellmont Madison House. New outbreaks, all of them small so far, were reported at Four Oaks in Jonesborough, Governors Bend in Erwin and Signature Healthcare in Rogersville.

With no net change, 24 facilities remain in active outbreak status. Since late August, 20 facilities have been moved off the active list, though three of those — Greystone in Blountville, Christian Care Center in Bristol and Signature in Greeneville — are now experiencing their second active outbreaks.

Signature in Greeneville, with 20 deaths in its first outbreak, had one of the worst outcomes in the region and the state. Currently it reports no resident cases and three staff cases.

To date, Northeast Tennessee’s outbreaks have led to a total of 1,178 resident cases and 789 staff cases. The nine deaths reported Friday bring to 160 the total of deaths associated with COVID outbreaks in long-term care, which is 42.4 percent of the 377 total deaths reported in Northeast Tennessee.

The 1,967 total cases associated with long-term care facilities is 9.8 percent of the region’s total cases, which surpassed 20,000 Friday.

Statewide, TDH reports 9,134 resident cases and 1,195 resident deaths. That means Northeast Tennessee’s been impacted at rates close to twice its share of the state’s total population.

The seven-county region has 7.4 percent of the state’s people and has tallied 12.9 percent of resident COVID cases. It’s accounted for 13.4 percent of the deaths.

Out of the 44 facilities that have reported outbreaks, the most resident cases have occurred at Signature in Greeneville (98), NHC Johnson City (93), Mountain City Care and Rehab (85), Lifecare Greeneville (75), Christian Care Bristol (75), Erwin Health Care (71) and Holston Manor of Kingsport (70).

The highest number of deaths have been at NHC Johnson City (21), Signature Greeneville (20), Erwin Health Care (13), Christian Care Bristol and Holston Manor (11 each) and Church Hill Health Care, Lifecare Greeneville and The Waters of Johnson City (10 each).

Cases and deaths are actively rising most at Lifecare Elizabethton, Viviant Health Care Bristol and Wexford House.

Even accounting for some newly active cases that probably mean it will end up slightly higher, the mortality rate for Northeast Tennessee long-term care facilities currently stands at 13.6 percent. Almost one in seven residents who has contracted the virus has died.

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