There have been nine COVID-19 deaths in Blount County since Oct. 30, the Tennessee Department of Health reported Friday.
Oct. 30 saw five COVID-19 deaths — the most the area has seen since the crisis began, according to TDH data compiled by The Daily Times. Nov. 2, 3, 5 and 6 each saw a single coronavirus death.
Blount Memorial Hospital Director of Public Relations and Marketing Jennie Bounds said four of those deaths were at the hospital.
A total of 32 people have died from COVID-19 at Blount Memorial.
“As cases increase, we tend to see an increase in hospitalizations. As hospitalizations increase, we tend to see deaths increase,” BMH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Harold Naramore said in a statement. “And while, as a nation, the medical community’s knowledge of the virus and the skills needed to fight it has improved dramatically since the Spring, we still know that the best medicine or intervention available to us all is to wear a mask, wash our hands, stay 6’ apart from each other and avoid large indoor gatherings. ”
Asbury Communities spokeswoman Cathy Canning confirmed that one of the deaths was at senior-living facility Asbury Place Maryville, 2648 Sevierville Road.
“We grieve the loss of residents as family,” Canning emailed The Daily Times. “Our community has worked tirelessly to minimize risk of COVID-19 with measures that include weekly testing of our health care associates as mandated by the state, and rigorous screening, quarantine, and sanitation processes.”
Asbury Place Maryville had conducted more than 5,800 COVID-19 tests and had a positivity rate of less than 1% as of Nov. 2, Canning said.
“We are incredibly proud of the seriousness with which associates and residents are taking their commitment to each other’s safety — a message we continually reinforce,” she said.
Asbury officials created a COVID-19 update webpage to keep the public informed on the status of the coronavirus at the senior-living facility.
The page, which is accessible through Asbury’s website, offers daily information about potential, pending and active cases in the facility. It also provides insight into how many people have potentially been exposed to the virus.
On Nov. 6, the data showed that 17 residents and 10 associates had active COVID-19 cases. Residents who test positive for COVID-19 are placed in a designated area with specialized protocols, Canning said.
The Ashbury data also shows that three residents had died from the virus since it entered the county last spring. Tennessee Department of Health data, however, only lists one death at Asbury since the state health department began tracking long-term care facility deaths in late April.
TDH long-term care facility COVID-19 data reflect positive coronavirus cases and deaths that have occurred within the 28 days of the posted data. However, the long-term care data offers little clarity on the actual date of the cases and deaths — creating a potentially inconsistent COVID-19 timeline.
TDH Public Information Officer Corie Gouge emailed that “the daily figures we report for deaths do not indicate those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.”
Gouge said the state cannot report a COVID-19 death until a death certificate is received.
The Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner also reviews all death certificates with COVID-related language and cross-checks them with the laboratory database to determine if the decedents have a laboratory diagnosis of the virus,” Gouge said. “We are making every effort to ensure our reporting is thorough and accurate.”
This TDH data is updated at 10:30 a.m. Fridays and can be found at tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data/clusters-in-long-term-care-facilities.html.
Archived COVID-19 data in long-term care facilities from Oct. 2-9 showed that only one other Blount County coronavirus death occurred in a long-term care facility, at LifeCare Center of Blount County, 1965 Stewart Lane in Louisville.