As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in Tennessee, the state is beginning to see a major increase of positive cases within the elderly population, including those in Williamson County.
Over the last week, a nursing home in Gallatin has been a point of focus as many staff members and residents have tested positive for the virus. Despite early efforts by assisted living facilities across the state to keep outside visitors away from their residents, Fountains of Franklin, The Heritage at Brentwood and NHC HealthCare Franklin have all now been touched by the coronavirus.
"I wanted to be the one to announce that in spite of the herculean efforts by all, a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19," Ricki Keckley, a founder of Fountains, announced on social media Tuesday. "At this point, all residents and staff will be tested by the State Department of Health. As before this event, residents are required to remain in their apartments and a special crew is being brought in to do an additional deep cleaning of the entire building."
Additionally, Jon Tagatz, the executive director of The Heritage, told local news at least one staff member has tested positive. And according to Melba Collins Beasley, whose mother is at NHC, at least two people at the facility are confirmed cases. At the moment, the Fountains staff is not aware of any residents who have the virus.
"May God put a protective hedge around the patients and the workers during this trying time," Beasley said on social media Tuesday.
During Monday's daily briefing from the state, Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, said the state has seen a rise in the number of cases in older patients.
"One of the most concerning trends we've seen is an increase in our elderly population," she said.
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, nearly 38% of the 2,683 confirmed cases in Tennessee were found in patients over the age of 50.
"To Tennesseans who have the privilege and the capacity to safely remain at home for the next two weeks, we need you to do that to protect the lives of your neighbors and protect the lives of Tennesseans to protect the wellbeing of our health care workers and our essential employees and vulnerable populations like the elderly in Tennessee," Gov. Bill Lee said Monday.