Long-term care residents make up nearly 40 percent of COVID-19-related deaths in Tenn., data says

WATCH: Long-term care residents make up nearly 40% of COVID-19 related deaths in TN, data shows

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Assisted living, long-term care, senior residential, and skilled nursing facilities make up a lot of Tennessee’s health care facilities.

According to the state, these more than 700 facilities employ more than 70,000 people and provide services to more than 70,000 residents.

State data also showed nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths in Tennessee have been long-term care residents.

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That's why Governor Bill Lee said he issued Executive Order Number 38.

Under the rules, each nursing home had to complete an “intent to test” survey by June 1 and all nursing home residents and staff were to get tested by June 30.

To date, almost all long-term care facilities have completed the department’s initial survey.

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As of Monday afternoon, a Tennessee Department of Health spokeswoman said 683 assisted living facilities completed testing of residents and staff, and eight were on the schedule to do it.

So, what happens if a nursing home or assisted living center doesn’t follow these new rules?

It will be considered what officials called a “serious deficiency.”

The state health department may revoke a facility’s license, suspend its license, or charge civil monetary penalties.

The Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force reinforced that nursing homes were still closed to visitors.

If the facility allows, visitors can see a resident receiving end-of-life care.

Outside of that exception, only virtual social visits are allowed.

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