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"You have the most vulnerable population... dying of the virus" / Lawmakers develop plan to help Memphis nursing home with 32 coronavirus cases

Tennessee lawmakers are trying to find a way to help residents of long-term care facilities threatened by COVID-19.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

In a South Memphis long-term care facility, there are 32 positive cases of COVID-19. Twenty residents of Parkway Health and Rehabilitation as well as twelve employees have tested positive for the virus. Being in the middle of the Coronavirus outbreak, Tennessee lawmakers made a plan in order to help those with the virus but also to find a way to control the spread across the city and the state.

Parkway Health and Rehabilitation Center is the long-term care facility in Shelby County with the most cases of COVID-19 so far. While we don't know what exactly caused the outbreak, one Tennessee lawmaker is concerned.

 "You have the most vulnerable population that are the most susceptible population not only contracting the virus but dying from the virus, " said State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, (D) Memphis.   

According to US News and World Report rankings, it gets a 2 out of 5 stars.  It has a below average rating for short-term care and an average rating for long-term care.  No matter the rating, Parkinson says more needs to be done by the state and local health departments to protect seniors in facilities like this during this outbreak.

"It's a real challenge. I think its not only important that the state steps up and really delivers the needed resources to make sure the people inside these facilities—or those that are being transitioned out of these into a family member's home—have the support they need," said Parkinson.

Shelby County Health Department is committed to providing our commun... ity with the most accurate information about . Today, April 23, 2020, there are 1,931 confirmed cases in Shelby County including 41 deaths. Visit: bit.ly/2TYclYS

Wednesday, the state of Tennessee announced a new action plan for when there is an outbreak at a facility and it details how it will be handled. From testing to notification to even possible relocation of patients. 

Parkway is one of 10 long-term care facilities in Shelby County where 96 patients and/or staff have tested positive for the virus and 10 have died.

Credit: WATN

"It is a high priority for us not just because of the number of cases but also  because it is a vulnerable population so we view every nursing home as a high priority and our strike team works with those facilities to try and get their outbreak under control," said Alisha Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.

A statement from Parkway officials said the COVID-19 positive residents are in quarantine in a separate wing of the facility.  All staff members have their temperature taken as they enter the facility and are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. 

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