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Another Memphis-area senior home may have an outbreak. Here's what we know about the first.

Less than two weeks after a Shelby County assisted living facility reported a COVID-19 outbreak among residents, health officials say they are looking into a second facility to determine whether it too has an outbreak.

Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said she's likely to have more information on the second facility Friday.

There have been deaths of residents from COVID-19 at senior living facilities, Latest Memphis News Press Haushalter confirmed, although she did not say which ones and did not have exact numbers. 

The potential for a second outbreak among the vulnerable demographic raises alarm about the readiness of senior living facilities to handle the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Facilities across the country have been caught unprepared for the novel coronavirus, said Dr. Terry Fulmer, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation, a group that advocates for older adults.

“We didn’t have the appropriate equipment or tests where they needed to be. We don’t have a communication process,” she said. “We’re seeing this type of heartbreaking discontinuity of best practice and horrifying communication that is just what no one would ever want to have happened.”

And being caught with no best practice protocol, she said, could be what happened at Carriage Court of Memphis when the senior living facility faced an outbreak of the new coronavirus.

At Carriage Court, seven people have tested positive for COVID-19 — six residents and an employee.

Carriage Court faced problems prior to COVID-19: With three disciplinary actions in recent years, the facility was placed on probation by the Tennessee Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities.

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