Gov. Bill Lee announces state's first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Williamson County

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Posted at 8:41 AM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 07:29:19-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee has announced the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 in Tennessee. The patient tested positive for the virus Wednesday.

The patient, identified as a 44-year-old man, is in Williamson County and is currently quarantined at home. The Tennessee Department of Health says the patient was on a nonstop flight to Boston before getting sick.

The health department said the patient has mild symptoms and sought care when he became slightly worse. Health officials said they're working on compiling a list of people that have come in contact with the family. They're also working to determine if he traveled through Nashville International Airport.

Officials with Battle Ground Academy reported the patient as a parent of one of their students. The school will be closed the rest of the week as well as the Williamson County School District.

Health department officials said the man had limited contact after returning from out of state. He isolated himself at his home when he began to feel sick.

The CDC has strict guidelines about testing for COVID-19. So far, an estimated 10 people have been tested in Tennessee.

Gov. Lee says Tennessee was one of the first five states that began testing for the virus.

"It's been a very difficult week for our state in a lot of ways," Lee said. "Preparedness is how we deal with situations like this."

Lee added that the risk is low in Tennessee.

If you have questions, you can call the Tennessee Department of Health Coronavirus Public Information Hotline: 877-857-2945

Nashville Mayor John Cooper said the city is working with the CDC to monitor the situation. He urged residents to stay calm and listen to experts. Dr. Michael Caldwell with the Nashville Department of Public Health added that if you're sick, stay home and don't go out in public.

At least 11 people have died of the coronavirus virus, also called COVID-19 disease, in the U.S.

What is 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.

What are the symptoms?

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

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


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 cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

To keep up with the CDC's updates and learn more about 2019-nCoV click here.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know