A fourth Springfield Heights resident has died of COVID-19 complications, Americare Senior Living confirmed in a release on Thursday, May 28.
The assisted living facility, where 26 people have contracted the virus, reported two deaths last week after reporting two deaths the previous week. The first sick resident was discovered the week of May 11.
“Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones because of this virus,” Robertson County Mayor Billy Vogle said via YouTube on Wednesday. “Robertson County is not immune. We’ve been hit, and we’ve lost some neighbors. You’ll be in our thoughts and prayers in the coming days and months.”
Springfield Heights continues to care for 14 residents in house who have tested positive, though some have begun the path to recovery.
Two residents have remained symptom-free for 14 days and are considered recovered.
Three others have received their first negative test and were set to be retested Thursday, May 28. If they test negative again, they will also be considered recovered.
Two residents who tested positive remain in the hospital. One resident who tested negative and was sent home is now in the hospital for reasons unrelated to COVID-19.
Five employees initially tested positive for the virus two weeks ago. One additional employee tested positive last week and is asymptomatic, and one who had previously tested positive has been symptom-free for 14 days and is considered recovered.
Springfield Heights residents remain on in-room quarantine and on droplet isolation protocols. Staff members continue to wear N95 masks while in the building and gloves while in resident rooms.
Rate of positive tests climbing
Coronavirus cases have continued to rise in Robertson County. But the number of new cases has not just been a product of more testing – the rate of positive tests has doubled since the beginning of May.
From May 3-10, 7.8 percent of tests came back positive. But since then, 16 percent of tests have returned positive results.
“COVID-19 is not gone,” Vogle said. “It is not less serious, and it can be very dangerous and even deadly for the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems.”
Robertson County had 475 COVID-19 cases as of Sunday, May 31, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Three county residents have died while 251 have recovered.
In total, 3,736 coronavirus tests have been completed in Robertson County.
Vogle: Wear a mask in public
As businesses and other public places continue to reopen, Vogle reminded residents to do their part to protect the most vulnerable and slow the spread of the virus. He wants the public to follow the latest CDC guidelines, which include wearing a mask in crowded places where social distancing cannot be observed.
“As you go out and begin to live your life in a more normal way, I implore you to practice the recommendations of social distancing, disinfecting shared spaces regularly, washing your hands frequently and, most importantly, wearing a mask in public places,” he said.
“This has been a (contentious) topic, but with all personal opinions aside, I suggest that we heed the suggestions of professionals to help fight and control this virus. Their recommendations are very simple: wear a mask in public.”
Testing site moves again
Free COVID-19 testing will be moved to the Robertson County Health Department (800 S Brown St. in Springfield) beginning Monday, June 1. Testing will be available each weekday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The change will keep Memorial Blvd. free of stationary cars, Vogle said. When Unarco closed its Springfield plant and sent all employees to be tested on Tuesday, May 26, long lines of cars disrupted traffic near the former CO-OP testing site.
Testing was originally conducted at the Robertson County Fairgrounds in March and April before it was moved to 4000 Memorial Blvd. in early May.
Ellen Kennedy contributed to this report.