After push to vaccinate, COVID-19 decreasing at Knox County long-term care facilities

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KNOXVILL, Tenn. (WATE) – COVID-19 cases and deaths at Knox County long-term care facilities is rapidly declining following a push to vaccinate residents and staff.

Local long-term care facilities recorded record-high COVID-19 cases and related deaths in January. Since then, cases have dropped 55% and deaths dropped by roughly 70%, according to Knox County Health Department data.

All of Tennessee’s nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities have completed both doses of COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Assisted care living facilities and residential homes in the state were also projected to be completed last week.

“Since COVID-19 first arrived in our community nearly a year ago, we have known that these individuals were at some of the highest risk for severe outcomes,” said Senior Director and Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan. “With the dedicated, statewide push to get those living and working in these facilities vaccinated, we are finally starting to see these numbers trend down and that is extremely encouraging.” 

Beginning this month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee lifted state visitation restrictions on nursing home and long-term care facilities.

Knox County surpassed 100,000 vaccinations, including first and second doses, for county residents earlier this week. Knox County leads Tennessee’s big four metro counties in percentage of population vaccinated, Buchanan said.

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