Addressing rising senior care facility Covid-19 cases

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WDEF) – While states are relying on a flattening curve to reopen businesses, nursing homes have seen a boom in the number of cases nationwide.

The headlines have been grim.

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— 47 dead at a nursing home in Minnesota, with another 195 residents and staff testing positive.

— Connecticut reports tonight that half of all of their facilities come from senior care.

— Georgia is one of five states reporting a majority of deaths came from nursing homes.

And a Washington Post analysis found that the number of reported cases has doubled in the last week across the country.

Advocates all over the country all calling on more transparency of nursing home numbers.

And Tennessee seems to be a case in point.

After mounting pressure, state officials began listing senior care numbers on their Covid-19 update page.

However, the page on Thursday listed 3 positive cases and no deaths at Life Care Center of Athens.  The care facility, itself, today announced they had 87 positive tests among residents and staff with two deaths.  McMinn’s number is posted as 92, with no explanation of the sudden jump, other than what local officials say.

With that background, President Trump announced new measures for nursing homes, which he even admits is a “weak spot” in our response. “We’re not happy about that.”

He has ordered more supplies for workers, more inspections and is forming a commission to generate more ideas on senior care.

The President also invited Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to address the senior care challenge.

Governor Lee touted the state’s success in testing and announced he wants to continue that progress at senior care facilities.

“You know, there’s a Scripture describes being hard pressed on every side, but not crushed. And that’s where we are in Tennessee.”

“I think that’s where we are in a nation. But the elderly are most hard pressed in this setting, and especially those in long term care facilities and then need our help. So in Tennessee, we’re committed to testing every resident and every staff in every one of our 700 long term care facilities.”

Life Care Center of Athens tested all of their residents last week and their number jumped from one to 54.  The county stepped in and tested their staff on Monday, finding 29 positive cases.