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WAAY 31 I-TEAM: 3 more residents die at ‘Tut’ Fann veterans home in Huntsville since Friday

That brings the total number of deaths there to 10 in less than three weeks.

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 6:36 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2020 12:18 AM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM learned three residents at the Floyd E. “Tut” Fann State Veterans Home in Huntsville have died since Friday.

That brings the total number of deaths there to 10 in less than three weeks.

It’s a story we started telling you about more than a week ago as families and employees raised concerns about what’s going on inside the home. (Read more HERE and HERE)

We learned Wednesday that seven of the 10 “Tut” Fann residents who died recently tested positive for coronavirus at some point prior to their deaths.

Now, the state VA and the facility’s management group are waiting for the Alabama Department of Public Health to determine the cause of death in each of those cases. That could take more than two weeks.

HMR Veterans Services, the management company at “Tut” Fann, said 27 employees have tested positive for coronavirus since March. Five employees recovered and are back at work.

Two employee deaths are under investigation. They both died in the last three weeks.

WAAY 31 learned one of those employees tested positive for coronavirus prior to their death.

The management company said employees assigned to the coronavirus team at “Tut” Fann stay isolated from the rest of the staff and patients.

Employees have emailed the WAAY 31 I-TEAM with concerns, saying they’re forced to wear fabric gowns instead of disposable gowns.

HMR Veterans Services confirmed to WAAY 31 that employees wear the same fabric gown for their entire shift. The company said this is because it has a limited supply of disposable gowns.

The company also pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology indicated that wearing one gown per person within a coronavirus unit is acceptable.

We asked Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers what he thinks about that practice.

“That would not be the preference, but it's better than nothing at all,” he said. “So if they can't get the ones that they need and that's all they’ve got, wear them all day, launder them, and do it all over again."

Spillers said Huntsville Hospital has enough supply to allow the use of disposable gowns instead of fabric ones.

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