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Families fear for loved ones after COVID-19 outbreak at Tennessee nursing home

The Elk River Health & Nursing Center confirmed that more than 50 patients had tested positive in the last three weeks and more than a dozen have died.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 11:09 PM

17 patients at the Elk River Health & Nursing Center of Ardmore have died in the past three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, the center confirmed Monday.

In total, 52 patients and more than 20 staff members have tested positive for coronavirus since the center’s outbreak began in late September.

Monday night families who have loved ones at the center tell me they are terrified about the safety of their loved ones.

“It’s just fear that she might catch something like that in her last days,” Nicole Hick said. “It would just be horrible.”

For many, Monday’s news of a significant coronavirus outbreak at the center came as a shock.

Nicole Hicks’ husband's aunt is currently at the center. Hicks said the center had been in regular contact with the family about her 96-year-old aunt and her condition until about a week ago.

As of Monday, there are only 30 patients left at the center, down from about 60 just a few weeks ago.

Hicks said her aunt, who is among the remaining group, is not among the positive cases.

“It does make us feel good but also that fear is there that, you know, she could be one of the next ones since it’s a small place and I understand that they might be short staffed of course with half of the staff being sick as well,” she said.

Center administrator JD Davis said the center has been strictly following CDC, CMS and Tennessee Department of Health guidelines since the start of the outbreak. He noted that health officials had visited the center multiple times and that they had not issued any citations for violations.

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