2 COVID-19 deaths reported in Tenn.; Gov. Lee suspends in-person dining, lifts alcohol regulation

Posted at 11:04 AM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 15:52:07-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two people have died from the new coronavirus in Tennessee as of Sunday.

Metro Health officials announced the first death on Friday when a 73-year-old Nashville man died from complications with COVID-19. On Saturday, a patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center who had underlying health complications died from the virus. VUMC said the patient was from a county adjacent to Davidson County.

In Tennessee, 517 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with more expected to be announced on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday, Governor Bill Lee signed an executive order calling for Tennessee businesses to use alternative businesses models beginning March 23 until midnight April 6.

Under the executive order, restaurants statewide must suspend all in-person dining services, gyms and fitness centers must also close. Social gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited. Restaurants may offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options.

Lee has also lifted alcohol regulations in the state, allowing establishments to sell alcohol by take-out or delivery, with the purchase of food, in closed containers to those 21 years old or older.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects," said Gov. Lee. "Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position."

In Tennessee, 517 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with more expected to be announced on Sunday afternoon.

The order also limits visitation at nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities to visits for essential care only in an effort to protect Tennessee's elderly.

Gov. Lee encouraged businesses to enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.

“I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously - our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19,” said Lee.

More information regarding state resources and support for small business is available HERE.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


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.


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.