WAAY 31 I-TEAM: 12 ‘Tut’ Fann Veterans Home residents diagnosed with coronavirus have died

The management company told us it's still waiting for the Alabama Department of Public to confirm the deaths were caused by coronavirus.

Posted: Sep 15, 2020 5:53 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2020 6:40 PM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM learned 12 veterans previously diagnosed with coronavirus died at the Floyd E. 'Tut' Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville in recent weeks.

More than a month after some of those deaths, the health department still can’t confirm if they were caused by coronavirus. (Read more HERE)

HMR Veterans Services, the management company that oversees Tut Fann, said 24 veterans currently have coronavirus, and three of those veterans needed to leave the facility and are now in area hospitals fighting coronavirus.

Since March, the company said 54 residents have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Right now, the company says the Alabama Department of Public Health is investigating all 12 patient deaths, and it's unclear when a cause of death will be determined.

Earlier this month, WAAY 31 asked the state about the delay and learned only three employees from the health department review almost all coronavirus-related deaths in Alabama. The agency said it’s working past capacity and there is a backup.

HMR Veterans Services confirmed all 12 of the residents who died did suffer from other pre-existing health conditions.

The company also told us Tut Fann received a visit last Thursday from a team based at the the Birmingham VA Medical Center. It said the visit focused on infection prevention processes and the designated coronavirus unit. The management company explained the visit was very positive and confirmed effective systems and processes are in place.

HMR Veterans Services admitted the team made minor recommendations and process adjustments, which it already implemented here at the home. We're still waiting to hear more about what those changes are.

The management previously did tell us that two employee deaths were also under investigation, and one employee was known to have coronavirus prior to their death. It's unclear now how many employees currently have coronavirus.

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