Area nursing homes battling COVID

A number of local long-term care facilities are battling multiple cases of COVID-19 in their facilities over the last month, causing multiple deaths across the Lakeway Area, state records show.

State records show multiple long-term care facilities have been affected by the virus, which impacts the elderly and infirm significantly.

The state updates records every Friday on long-term care facilities and keeps records of those facilities who have more than one infection for 28 days.

The Heritage Center, a long-term care facility in Morristown, has seen more than 40% of its residents become infected with COVID-19, while 10 of those residents have died due to the novel coronavirus, according to reports.

The Heritage Center, located on McFarland Street, has had 64 of its 149 residents test positive for the virus and 44 associates test positive.

“We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has entered our facility and that we have lost dear residents to it,” said Scott Hunt, executive director for the Heritage Center. “We extend our deepest sympathies to their friends and families.”

According to the latest records, Jefferson City Health and Rehabilitation Center has had 64 cases out of 123 residents in the last 28 days with seven deaths. There have been 47 staff members test positive as of Friday, state records show.

Representatives for Jefferson City Health and Rehabilitation Center could not be reached for comment.

Two long-term care facilities in Greene County have also been hit hard by COVID-19. Signature Healthcare of Greeneville reported 98 of 108 residents testing positive for the coronavirus, 17 deaths and 68 staff members infected.

Life Care Center of Greeneville, which is owned by Life Care Centers of America, the same organization that owns the Heritage Center, reported that 75 residents tested positive for COVID-19 with 10 deaths. Sixty-five residents have recovered and 43 staff members tested positive and all recovered.

According to state records, it has been 16 days since the last positive test in the facility.

“Life Care Center of Greeneville is thankful to be officially COVID-19 free,” Misty Key, executive director of Life Care Center of Greeneville, said in a statement. “We commend our associates and residents for fighting the virus so bravely. Tragically, 10 of our beloved residents died because of this terrible virus. We mourn as a facility family and will never forget those associates.”

The Heritage Center, though, still is fighting the virus.

“We continue to have active cases in the building,” Hunt said.

He said the positive residents have been isolated and are receiving appropriate care from staff.

Those staff members who have tested positive have been quarantined at home and will not return until the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines have been met.

Hunt said residents and staff members are being retested on a weekly basis and monitored day and night for any symptoms.

“We have been and will continue to follow all CMS, CDC and state and local health department guidelines concerning COVID-19,” he said.

Visitors, including family members and vendors, have been restricted from entering the facility, Hunt said.

He said the facility has been coordinating phone calls, video chats and window visits for family.

Hunt said as soon as visitation is considered safe, based upon state guidelines, it will resume.

“We continue to work in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health and the local health department and will follow the guidance they provide,” Hunt said. “We appreciate their continued support, as well as the support of the local community.”