A coronavirus outbreak in a Tennessee nursing home has left one person dead and 23 other hospitalized this weekend. The virus found its way into the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing, according to a report by News Channel 5, infecting elderly residents. On Friday night, 24 people were evacuated and rushed to the hospital.
Patients from Gallatin were admitted to Sumner Regional Medical Center, the hospital confirmed on Saturday morning. One patient passed away overnight, marking Sumner County's first confirmed death from COVID-19 — the novel coronavirus. The other 23 remain hospitalized, and their conditions are not clear. Sumner Regional Medical Center issued a statement on the influx of patients on Saturday morning.
BREAKING: TN National Guard just arrived to the Gallatin Center. We have been told Sumner Co Heath Dept. nurses will arrive in an hour to administer #COVID19 tests to care staff on duty. 24 residents have been hospitalized for COVID19 here. One resident has died. @nc5 @NC5_JKraus pic.twitter.com/MA7e4y504I— Chris Davis (@ChrisDavisMMJ) March 28, 2020
"Our hearts are with the residents and their families and all of those mourning loved ones during this difficult time. We stand ready and will continue serving our patients and community through this crisis," it said.
In total, this brings Tennessee's state-wide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic to seven people. It also illustrates how fast the virus can escalate, as Gallatin reported its first positive case this week. Days later, it enacted this massive evacuation.
All of the patients and staff at Gallatin are now being tested, according to the nursing home's administrator Dawn Cochran. She told Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown that everyone will get the rare tests in the hopes of ensuring the safety of the nursing home's continued operation.
"Last night an unprecedented deployment of Emergency Medical personnel from Sumner County and surrounding areas responded and administered aid to these patients," said Mayor Brown. "I am so grateful and so proud of the coordinated effort to care for these members of our community. This is a difficult time for all impacted by this virus, but especially for these patients and their families. Your thoughts and prayers for the deceased individual and their family, as well as the other patients and their families are needed and appreciated."
With cases rising exponentially in the U.S., public health officials continue to recommend social distancing as the best practice for avoiding the virus and mitigating its spread. By remaining at home, people can not only protect themselves but their community from the virus, as the healthcare system is stretched to its limit by the rise in cases.
Visit the CDC's website for the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic.