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CDC: 1,180 coroanvirus cases, 70 deaths reported from nursing homes in north Alabama

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control, 670 residents and 510 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

Posted: Aug 14, 2020 11:59 PM
Updated: Aug 15, 2020 12:08 AM

Because the population of nursing homes is especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to be able to track the impact of the virus on these centers.

According to the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) data, as of the week ending on August 2, there have been 1,180 cumulative cases of coronavirus and 70 deaths in north Alabama. Of those, 670 of the cases were residents and 510 were staff members.

County-by-county breakdown of total cases and deaths:*

  • Colbert County
    • Residents - 21 cases, 0 deaths
    • Staff - 46 cases, 0 deaths
  • DeKalb County
    • Residents - 75 cases, 5 deaths
    • Staff - 56 cases, 1 death
  • Franklin County
    • Residents - 80 cases, 9 deaths
    • Staff - 63 cases, 0 deaths
  • Jackson County
    • Residents - 4 cases, 0 deaths
    • Staff - 8 cases, 0 deaths
  • Lauderdale County
    • Residents - 56 cases, 10 deaths
    • Staff - 57 cases, 0 deaths
  • Lawrence County 
    • Residents - 21 cases, 0 deaths
    • Staff - 12 cases, 0 deaths
  • Limestone County
    • Residents - 71 cases, 10 deaths
    • Staff - 29 cases, 0 deaths
  • Madison County
    • Residents - 122 cases, 6 deaths
    • Staff - 81 cases, 0 deaths
  • Marshall County
    • Residents - 69 cases, 11 deaths
    • Staff - 62 cases, 0 deaths
  • Morgan County
    • Residents- 151 cases, 18 deaths
    • Staff - 96 cases, 0 deaths

*Numbers as of the week ending on Sunday, August 2. CMS defines a week as Monday through Sunday.

Larry Plott visits with his 87-year-old mother, Mildred, at Burns Nursing Home on Friday, August 14, 2020. The two were able to have a close, in-person visit with the aid of a specially built plexiglass box. Larry Plott visits with his 87-year-old mother, Mildred, at Burns Nursing Home on Friday, August 14, 2020. The two were able to have a close, in-person visit with the aid of a specially built plexiglass box.

One of the nursing homes that had dozens of cases early on was Burns Nursing Home in Russellville. After an employee tested positive in mid-April, Director Cam DeArman said they tested every staff member and resident because of how many people the employee was in close contact with over a 48-hour period.

"My biggest worry at the time was, do I have enough employees to take care of the remaining residents. As soon as we got the first positive back, we dismissed any rehab patients that we had. I think one went to a hospital and two went home, that was not positive," DeArman said.

By early May, there were 45 residents and 33 staff members who tested positive for the virus. After that, DeArman said the nursing home moved to secure N95 masks for their employees and continuously updated their safety protocols as they learned more about the possible symptoms of coronavirus.

In total, five of the residents who tested positive died, but because of the measures they took, Burns Nursing Home has only had one staff member test positive since the first week of June.

DeArman said what nursing homes need to overcome the virus is more and better testing.

“The main thing they need right now is being able to test and get results quicker and be more accurate. Because the accuracy of the results, when you get them in five days, still is not where it needs to be,” DeArman said. “I think the test still is about 33 percent inaccurate (for negative tests) and so that’s why you sometimes have to test twice before you get it over the 90th percentile.”

The federal government is in the process of aiding testing capacity. In late July, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “will begin requiring, rather than recommending, that all nursing homes in states with a 5 percent positivity rate or greater test all nursing home staff each week.”

As a part of that effort, HHS stated that it would be sending out 15,000 rapid point-of-care diagnostic testing devices. As of August 14, 78 of those were specifically designated for hard-hit nursing homes in Alabama, according to the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

That includes the following in north Alabama:

Additionally, HHS will allocate $5 billion of the Provider Relief Fund established through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for additional training and to address critical needs, like hiring additional staff, increasing testing and providing new technology to help families keep in touch with residents that they are unable to see in person.

“As caseloads continue to increase in areas around the country, it has never been more important that nursing homes have what they need to maintain a sturdy defense against the virus. These measures will help them do exactly that,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement.

In order to receive these funds, nursing homes need to participate in designated Nursing Home COVID-19 Training. In a public conference call with CMS and reporters on Thursday, Verma said the curriculum for the training is being developed and will roll out soon.

Last week, Governor Kay Ivey also announced $50 million in CARES Act funds will also be going toward nursing homes as a way to reimburse “operational costs that are COVID-19 related, such as PPE, cleaning, personnel costs, and other costs incurred related to the pandemic.”

The funds will be administered by the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

As they await further assistance, facilities like Valley View Health and Rehabilitation in Madison are taking proactive steps to slow the spread of coronavirus in their buildings. NHS Management Spokesman Joe Perkins said Valley View had its first confirmed case on July 5 and since then 16 residents and 22 employees tested positive.

Perkins said the facility has a designated coronavirus unit equipped with biohazard walls, negative pressure air scrubbers, and increased levels of personal protective equipment for staff.

As of August 14, there were only four residents in the coronavirus unit and two staff who were still symptomatic.

NHS Management also owns Athens Health and Rehabilitation, Crossville Health and Rehabilitation, and Huntsville Health and Rehabilitation.

Back in Russellville, because they’ve seen virtually no coroanvirus cases in the past two months, they were able to bring back in-person visitation using a plexiglass and wooden box.

Larry Plott said being able to come see his mother, Mildred, in person is a priceless experience.

“Monitors, we've dealt with those before and seeing them through before and seeing them through the window panes and there's nothing like being close. Even though there's plexiglass there, you're close to them, as close as everything will allow and I think that's great,” Plott said.

For more information on the reimbursement program through the state, click here.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22861374
Mobile14468314
Tuscaloosa10148139
Montgomery9875196
Madison915094
Shelby720462
Lee649665
Baldwin647569
Marshall433049
Calhoun418960
Etowah418749
Morgan403635
Houston369232
DeKalb330229
Elmore314852
St. Clair287142
Limestone276530
Walker272293
Talladega261035
Cullman235724
Lauderdale214841
Jackson210015
Autauga202330
Franklin202131
Colbert196731
Russell19233
Blount189325
Dallas186227
Chilton184132
Escambia171929
Coffee171710
Covington169929
Dale165451
Chambers133643
Pike132313
Tallapoosa130587
Clarke130017
Marion106229
Butler100140
Barbour9979
Marengo99222
Winston91313
Geneva8527
Pickens82417
Lawrence82131
Randolph81216
Bibb81114
Hale74930
Clay72912
Cherokee72614
Lowndes70328
Monroe64010
Henry6396
Bullock63717
Washington63412
Crenshaw60230
Perry5836
Wilcox56212
Fayette56113
Conecuh55713
Cleburne5438
Macon52920
Sumter47021
Lamar4665
Choctaw38812
Greene34216
Coosa2023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 237907

Reported Deaths: 3011
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34892558
Davidson30302330
Knox1217488
Hamilton11368105
Rutherford11274110
Williamson680255
Sumner5788108
Wilson451455
Putnam425754
Montgomery398851
Out of TN382836
Unassigned38224
Madison369679
Bradley347923
Sullivan339546
Sevier324121
Washington324146
Blount319132
Maury313937
Robertson253741
Hamblen237943
Tipton226022
Dyer209627
Gibson208238
Hardeman182132
Coffee179920
Trousdale17517
Obion167820
Greene161851
Bedford161720
Anderson161114
Fayette160522
Dickson160419
Wayne15697
Loudon156610
McMinn156433
Cumberland156124
Lawrence152618
Jefferson149220
Weakley146725
Carter146532
Monroe139528
Warren138710
Henderson137925
Lauderdale136717
Hardin135219
Macon128625
Franklin124416
Roane12237
Haywood121027
Overton116512
Hawkins114224
White113314
Johnson11177
Carroll110525
McNairy109926
Marshall10859
Rhea106316
Cheatham100011
Bledsoe9994
Lake9753
Cocke96612
Smith96212
Giles92134
Campbell9118
Fentress8778
Lincoln8363
Crockett80320
Henry75610
Hickman75113
Marion7249
Chester71514
DeKalb69017
Decatur64811
Grainger5514
Grundy53511
Union5173
Claiborne5086
Polk48313
Jackson4345
Humphreys4244
Morgan4227
Houston39915
Benton3979
Cannon3962
Unicoi3842
Clay38314
Lewis3602
Scott3514
Sequatchie3294
Stewart3128
Meigs3005
Perry2611
Moore2542
Pickett2527
Van Buren1971
Hancock1133

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