COVID-19 Update May 15


From Nick Lewis, CEO of Hardin Medical Center

Friday, May 15, COVID-19 test results have been reported for all hospital and nursing home staff and residents working during the time of the first hospitalized positive COVID-19 patient.  Of 125 staff, only one tested positive for COVID-19.  Of 50 residents and patients tested, two hospitalized patients tested positive 5 days apart.  The two patients were admitted to the hospital from HMC Health and Rehabilitation Center.  The first positive COVID-19 patient was announced in the release from May 13.  The second positive COVID-19 patient was identified late Thursday afternoon.  The period of time between the two positive COVID patients/residents is an encouraging sign.  It is also encouraging that no other nursing home residents nor staff tested positive for COVID-19.  Another encouraging sign has been no other nursing home residents nor staff have shown any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.  HMC continues to work closely with the Tennessee Department of Health to ensure the most effective containment and prevention strategies are implemented to reduce the risk of transmission.

Strategy 1: Beginning at the time of the first positive COVID-19 identification, both the hospital and nursing home implemented what is referred as “reverse isolation”.  There are two categories of isolation: standard isolation and reverse isolation.  Both categories of isolation are intended to protect either the staff or the patient/resident. 

  • Standard isolation has the intent to protect the staff from contracting a viral or bacterial infection from the patient/resident. 
  • Reverse isolation has the intent to protect the patient/resident from contracting a viral or bacterial infection from a staff member.  Generally these patients/residents have an impaired immune system.

Why reverse isolation?  COVID-19 testing is useful for the moment the test was performed.  If exposure to a COVID-19 individual was hours versus days prior to testing, the body may not have had time to create a measurable response.  Reverse isolation is the best method to prevent transmission.

Strategy 2: If a healthcare provider can establish any common aspects between the positive COVID-19 cases, one can further develop isolation tactics to reduce transmission.  Although, the COVID-19 testing results for all the residents are negative, the results are only for the moment the resident was tested.  For precautionary measures, the residents who had a negative COVID-19 test but had contact with the positive staff member have been placed in isolation to reduce the risk of transmission to other residents or staff for 14 days. 

Jeanne Franks, Nursing Home Administrator, stated, “We are honored families trust us with their loved ones.  We work diligently to ensure the safety of both our staff and residents.  The measures we have put in place will help to reduce the risk of transmission.  Each resident is a special person, someone’s mother, father, grandparent or child.”

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