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Several Tennessee cities declare state of emergency amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Posted at 8:43 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 15:49:54-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville, Memphis, Clarksville, Gallatin and several other cities across the state have issued a state of emergency for their respective communities because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

NASHVILLE - DAVIDSON COUNTY

Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed an executive order on March 18 to declare an immediate state of emergency in Metro Nashville and Davidson County as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

The declaration will enhance Metro Government's ability to respond to the outbreak.

"A coordinated response is the most effective response, and a declaration of emergency provides Metro Government and all our local partners with responsible but rapid resourcing and decision-making capabilities to overcome the challenge of the coronavirus," said Mayor Cooper. "Our number one priority is to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community. Just as the federal government, governor’s office, and local health department have declared states of emergency to prevent the spread of this virus and help those who have been afflicted, Nashville must use this declaration as a valuable tool to protect all our residents."

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SPRINGFIELD

Mayor Ann Schneider declared a state of emergency and was unanimously backed by the City of Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen Thursday, March 19.

The resolution authorizes the City Manager to activate the city’s emergency management plan and procedures and to reasonably promulgate, waive, or suspend rules, regulations, and ordinances regarding the provision of city services and the directing of city affairs as necessary. It will continue for seven days and can be extended as necessary by the mayor.

“The Mayor’s declaration will allow us to suspend regulations such as waiving fees and service disconnects along with other measures to address this pandemic and to protect our citizens,” said Gina Holt, City Manager.

In response to the declaration, all City of Springfield offices and facilities are closed to the public. However, staff remains available by phone or email. Citizens can access a complete A-Z directory of services and how they can be obtained during this period of time on our website (http://www.springfield-tn.org).

All utility payment channels, except for over-the-counter transactions are open, including the drive-through window and dropbox. As a reminder, citizens can pay utility bills online at http://www.springfield-tn.org/BillPay [springfield-tn.org] or over the phone by calling 877-768-5046. Credit card fees, late fees, and disconnects have been suspended until further notice.

GALLATIN

Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown said she would issue a State of Emergency for the city as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee.

City Attorney Susan High-McAuley proposed Resolution R2003-19 acknowledging the existence of an emergency and consenting to emergency powers of the mayor was approved unanimously by the City Council.

The State of Emergency will be in effect for Gallatin for seven days and may be extended by proclamation of the mayor. Mayor Brown says the action is a precaution that would allow for a timely reaction if a threat from an unanticipated spike in disease were to occur in our community.

The State of Emergency will be in effect for Gallatin for seven days and may be extended by proclamation of the mayor. Mayor Brown says the action is a precaution that would allow for a timely reaction if a threat from an unanticipated spike in disease were to occur in our community.

“This is a challenging time,” says Mayor Brown. “If we keep following the guidelines of the experts, social distancing so that we protect the most vulnerable, and caring for one another, this crisis will end sooner. Ultimately, we will be a better and stronger community.”

MORE TENNESSEE COVID-19 COVERAGE

See all our coronavirus coverage here

COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES IN TENNESSEE

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.