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COVID-19: All Tennessee state parks closing until April 14

Posted at 1:33 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 06:49:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Starting Saturday, all Tennessee state parks will be closed through April 14 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced the decision Friday, saying this includes closing all 56 state parks and state-owned state natural areas to the public.

The closings come after Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order on Thursday, requiring all Tennesseans stay home unless carrying out essential activities.

“We decided to close the parks in support of Governor Lee’s Executive Order 23,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “The health and safety of Tennessee citizens is all of our top priority right now.”

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.