Health department confirms 18 COVID-19 cases in Tennessee

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Posted at 2:06 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 15:27:58-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases of COVID-19, also known as the new coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 18.

The health department announced nine new cases Thursday afternoon. Williamson County currently has the highest number of cases in the state.

  • Davidson -- 6
  • Knox -- 1
  • Shelby -- 2
  • Sullivan -- 1
  • Williamson -- 8

Earlier in the day, Gov. Bill Lee announced that he signed an executive order to allow Tennessee to receive additional federal funds and relax laws to help fight the spread of the virus. The CDC is awarding the state $10,078,293.60 to support Tennessee's response.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is constructing a temporary screening area for possible patients. Vanderbilt officials said the temporary screening area is not intended as a location to provide care.

Vanderbilt has a dedicated hotline for its patients and employees who are concerned they could be ill with the disease COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus. This number is (888) 312-0847. This line is active seven days a week, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.


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.