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WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Tut Fann employee says coronavirus ‘spreading like … wildfire’ at veterans home

The employee said 6 residents have died from coronavirus. The state said it could take at least 2 weeks to confirm if that's true.

Posted: Aug 27, 2020 6:47 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2020 7:38 PM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM is working to learn more about what is going on inside the Floyd E. 'Tut' Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville.

On Wednesday, we told you about a family who said their loved one tested positive for coronavirus before dying at Tut Fann. The state won't confirm any deaths, but admits more than two dozen active cases at the home.

Shortly after our story aired, I was contacted by a Tut Fann employee who said the number of people dying and what's going on inside this home is far different than what the state reported.

This person provided WAAY 31 with two forms of proof of employment at the home, but wanted to stay anonymous out of fear of losing their job.

This person wants families and the community to know the truth.

"It is spreading throughout the building like water running off a roof in a heavy rain, like a wildfire," they said. "From my understanding there have been two deaths of employees and six residents."

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Office said there are zero confirmed coronavirus deaths at the home, but Tut Fann would not report a death until it's confirmed by the Alabama Department of Public Health. That process could take more than two weeks from the time the death is reported.

The employee also claimed Tut Fann is ignoring CDC guidelines and Alabama’s Department of Public Health regulations.

"An employee tested positive. She worked with a few other employees. They got tested, but they were still working," they said.

The staff member explained the quarantine area is the only way to reach some of the residents in the home, raising concerns about exposure.

"There are people who are not on the quarantine area, (but they) have to walk through there with no other choice. There should be an alternate route," the employee explained.

The employee shared this message to the state's Veterans Affairs Office.

"it's just awful. Those people are somebody's husband, wife, mother, brother, grandfather. Why lie to the people? Be honest and tell them the truth," they added.

WAAY 31 reached out to the state VA office at 11:30 a.m. and again about 3 p.m. Thursday. A little after 4 p.m., a spokesperson said an outside group runs day to day operations of Tut Fann and said someone with HMR Veterans Services would answer our questions.

As of Thursday evening, we are still waiting to hear back.

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