The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a pandemic. Reported illnesses range from very mild to severe, including death. Agencies anticipate widespread transmission will occur in the U.S. in coming months and recommend social distancing among other measures to slow the spread. Call your doctor and stay home if you are sick. Get more information at CDC.gov/coronavirus or contact the Tennessee Department of Health coronavirus information line at 877-857-2945 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT daily.
The number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Tennessee continued to climb on Friday as testing increased in the state and around the country.
There were at least 371 people in Tennessee believed to be infected with coronavirus.
The state continued its response to the virus and recommendations of social distancing with Gov. Bill Lee signing an executive order that extends Tennesseans’ ability to use expired driver’s licenses, bolsters consumer protections and relaxes some regulatory oversight.
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First death reported in the state
Metro Public Health Department officials notified the public Friday of the first reported COVID-19 death of a Davidson County resident, which marks the first one in the state.
Officials said the individual was a 73-year old man with underlying health conditions who died due to complications from the coronavirus.
“This is a tragic loss of life, and we extend our heartfelt condolences with the family,” Mayor John Cooper said. “Even though the majority of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have experienced mild symptoms, we know that the virus can be life-threatening, and we need everyone to take steps to protect themselves and each other.”
Vandy workers in self-isolation
Between 15 to 20 healthcare workers are in self-isolation, according to communications spokesperson with Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“The best I can offer at this hour is that yesterday afternoon we had between 15-20 healthcare workers who had tested positive for COVID-19,” VUMC chief communications officer John Howser said. “Our chief epidemiologist said that as far as we can tell none acquired the virus through patient contact, and all are at home self-isolating.”
Franklin declares state of emergency
As of Friday night, the City of Franklin declared a state of emergency because of the coronavirus.
Williamson County reported 35 cases of the virus as of Friday and the state experienced its first death of a 73-year-old man in Davidson County.
“With this declaration effective tonight at midnight, the City is following in the footsteps of Governor Lee who declared a state of emergency for Tennessee,” spokesperson Milissa Reierson said. “This is a difficult but necessary decision to indefinitely close dining service inside restaurants and bars in Franklin. Gyms and fitness centers in the city limits will be closed as well. Salons and spas are urged to limit operations to comply with CDC guidelines. Church services are advised to be held virtually if possible.”
Mayor Ken Moore also advised those returning from a vacation during Spring Break to self-isolate and use physical distancing for seven days, especially those who were in large crowds or flying.
“While this is a difficult and uncertain time, the only way to stop the spread and save lives is to take strong action now,” Moore said. “Williamson County currently has the second highest number of cases in the State of Tennessee. The safety and health of our community are the City’s top priority and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this time.”
No eviction notices in Williamson Co.
Like in Nashville, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office will not serve eviction notices to residents.
Spokesperson Sharon Puckett did share the department would still serve civil papers.
Murfreesboro PD changes report filing
The Murfreesboro Police Department is changing the way it files certain reports, the department announced Friday.
In an effort to reduce the number of in-person visits to the police station, the department has changed the way it handles certain reporting.
To file non-emergency reports, the tele-serve until will be handling by phone at 615-893-1311.
To obtain a copy of a report, call the records division at 615-849-2673 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adventure Science Center to remain closed
Adventure Science Center will remain closed until further notice, the museum announced Friday.
“The museum will continue to monitor the situation and follow recommendations from local authorities and public health officials, and will make announcements as needed regarding next steps,” a statement from the museum said.
The museum, a representative said, has had no known cases of COVID-19 associated with guests or staff.
MNPD closes public records counter
The Metro Nashville Police Department’s in-person public records counter will be closed starting on Monday until further notice.
Public records requests can be submitted via email at MNPDPublic@nashville.gov.
Inquiries can also be made by phone, 615-862-7631.
Williamson County EMA: More blood donors needed
The Williamson County Emergency Management Agency on Friday reported Williamson County Medical Center’s officials said blood banks are at risk of dropping to critical levels without continued donations.
Blood Assurance, the sole provider of blood products for Williamson Medical Center, is hosting a mobile blood drive on Monday and Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m. in the parking lot at 3000 Edward Curd Lane in Franklin.
Tennessee cases climb to 228
The Tennessee Department of Health on Friday afternoon announced it now counts 228 cases of COVID-19 statewide, up from 154 on Thursday.
On Friday, Davidson County had 101 of the state’s confirmed cases and Williamson County had 35.
A majority of those tested (178) took place at commercial or private laboratories. The remaining tests (50) took place at state public health laboratories.
State lawmakers pass budget, recess amidst outbreak
Tennessee lawmakers have approved a $39.8 billion budget amid the COVID-19 pandemic and cut short their 2020 session.
The dramatically reduced spending plan for the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year passed Thursday night and the state legislature has recessed until June 1.
“A balanced and fiscally responsible budget passed tonight thanks to the dedication of the General Assembly and a willingness to partner with our administration during unprecedented times,” Gov. Bill Lee said after the budget passed.
“We have done what we to believe best for every Tennessean… as it potentially faces an economically difficult time, Lee said during a news conference on Friday.
Lawmakers had been scrambling to approve the upcoming fiscal year budget since the start of the week.
Lee said updates on the coronavirus and its economic impacts will continue regularly.
Davidson County confirmed COVID-19 cases increase to 110
Health officials announced Friday a total of 110 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Davidson County, an increase of 50 cases over the past 24 hours.
On Thursday, Davidson County had 60 confirmed cases.
The age range for all confirmed cases in Nashville is from 11 to 73 years old. Of the confirmed cases, two are hospitalized.
Fifteen people have recovered from the virus. The remaining cases are self-isolating at home and have mild and manageable symptoms.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper will meet with faith leaders on Friday afternoon to discuss the public health advisory and organize a weekend of prayer.
Nashville closes restaurants for dining
Metro will restrict Nashville restaurants from dine-in service because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take-out orders, drive-thru service, curbside pickup, and delivery service are permitted, as long as restaurant patrons do leave the premise with the food and do not stay to dine in the restaurant.
The restriction was issued by Dr. Michael Caldwell, Metro’s Chief Medical Director, and announced on Friday.
According to the Metro Health Deptartment, Caldwell will have to formally sign the order today to make it “effective immediately.”
Metro is also restricting gyms and workout facilities from being open at this time.
And Davidson County churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other houses of worship in Davidson County, are being urged to refrain from physically meeting to adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines.
CORONAVIRUS IMPACT: Nashville restaurants restricted from dine-in service for COVID-19
NES extends disconnections until May
In response to COVID-19, Nashville Electric Service announced Friday it will suspend power disconnections for non-payment until May 31. During this time, NES will also waive late-fee charges and absorb credit card fees for customers.
“In addition to suspending disconnections, we want to work with customers who are struggling to pay their bill,” said Decosta Jenkins, NES President and CEO. “We will offer extended payment arrangements, if needed, to help keep their account active. Our mission has not changed; we want to do everything we can to continue to provide safe, affordable and reliable power to all customers.”
NES said customers facing economic challenges to pay any amount they can to avoid building up a large balance that may be harder to pay off later. For more information call 615-736-6900. Customers can also make payments and changes to their accounts at www.nespower.com
The NES customer service lobby will remain open during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.) but will be limited to 10 customers at a time.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage cancels events through May
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, closed through March 31, has also canceled scheduled events through May.
Those events include Yoga at The Hermitage, Presidential Easter Egg Hunts, Mother’s Day Teas, Vintage Baseball, Dog Days and our 120th Spring Outing.
Ticket holders for canceled events are being contacted by email about refunds. For more information or questions, please reach out to email@example.com.
The historic museum site still hopes to reopen for tours April 1.
Nashville police urged to use discretion on misdemeanor citations
Nashville police officers are being asked to issue state citations instead of making physical arrests whenever possible for many misdemeanor offenses.
The measure is to help reduce COVID-19 exposure within Nashville’s detention facilities and to Sheriff’s Office detention staff, according to the city’s police department.
The majority of misdemeanor offenses qualify for the issuance of citations when the defendant is able to prove their identity. DUI and domestic assault cases are excluded, police said.
Those issued citations are given a future booking date on which they are required to appear at the Sheriff’s Office facility downtown to be photographed, fingerprinted, and receive a court date.
Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson also announced that officers are also authorized to serve outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrants to defendants via citations rather than physically arresting them on a temporary basis. Domestic violence arrest warrants are excluded, police said.
Those arrested for felony crimes will continue to be physically arrested and taken to jail.
Tennessee looks to double ventilator supply
Tennessee heath officials have counted 758 adult and 120 pediatric ventilators in the state — and have ordered 570 additional ventilators, public health officials said Thursday.
Of those tallied in the state, 537 adult and 83 pediatric ventilators are currently vacant, with the remaining currently in use, according to data provided Thursday by the state health department.
At a briefing Thursday, Gov. Bill Lee said the state would continue working to get more ventilators. On a call with governors across the country, Lee said President Donald Trump asked state officials to request all hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and procedures to convert outpatient ventilators to be used in case of a potential surge in coronavirus, or COVID-19, cases.
Bridgestone America announces plant shutdown
Nashvile-based tire maker Bridgestone Americas announced that it will temporarily close all North American manufacturing facilities, a day after many automakers said they are shutting down.
The move comes as the coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads around the nation and the globe. Most of the company’s production warehouses are concentrated in the eastern United States. They include truck and bus tire manufacturing facilities LaVergne and Warren County.
Bridgestone, which also manufactures Firestone products, has a production facility in Dyersburg as well.
The company’s Lebanon distribution center will remain open.
COVID-19 IMPACT: Nashville-based Bridgestone Americas announces U.S. plant shutdowns
Nashville sheriff to release inmates to reduce coronavirus risks
Some people currently incarcerated in the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office jail system will be released early as a response to the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee.
“We fully expect to have COVID-19 positive cases in our facilities. It’s critical we reduce the inmate population now. As criminal justice leaders we need to take action because of the serious impact this virus will have on sheriff’s office staff and inmates,” Sheriff Daron Hall said in a Thursday release.
The shift will allow approximately 15 people to be released immediately.
The goal, DCSO spokesperson Karla West said, is to do what’s possible to reduce that population and encourage other parties in the criminal justice system to do the same.
And misdemeanor arrests have gone up over the past two weeks, according to DCSO. The department reported intake logs showed 279 misdemeanor arrests from March 10-16, up 22 from the 257 logged from March 3-9. Data on trends over a longer period of time was not immediately available.
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