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Gov. Bill Lee urges people to 'do your part; stay apart' during COVID-19 outbreak

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Posted at 3:07 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 18:03:11-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Governor Bill lee is holding his daily briefing on how Tennessee is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The governor began Thursday's briefing by urging Tennesseans to stay home and away from others, especially young adults.

"The vast majority of our cases are for people under 40 years old. To the young people in Tennessee, it matters what you do out there," he said. "People are dying in Tennessee as a result of COVID-19 and more people will if we don't personally address the changes that each one of us need to do."

He encouraged any restaurants, churches or other nonessential businesses staying open despite the guidelines released to stop the spread of the virus to remember "it matters" that we social distance.

"If you're a church and you're not figuring out how to let your people worship in a way that doesn't involve crowding in together. If you're a rural church out there in rural Tennessee and you don't think it matters because the virus hasn't shown up in your county yet, it matters," said Gov. Lee.

He said the state has seen 1,300% increase in unemployment filings in the last week.

"We reported last week we received 39,000 new unemployment claims in Tennessee. To put that in perspective, The week before we receives 2,700 claims," he explained.

A new initiative was created for those who have lost jobs due to the virus. The Tennessee Talent Exchange aims to match Tennesseans with open jobs.