NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The number of Tennessee's unemployment claims have drastically increased amid the new coronavirus pandemic, and they're expected to continue to rise following the governor's "Safer-at-Home" order, closing all nonessential businesses.
The state has issued orders allowing anyone who lost their job due to COVID-19 to file for unemployment, and an app by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development helps them maintain their unemployment status.
Any individual who applies for unemployment benefits must do weekly certifications in order to receive benefits. Officials say the certifications are necessary to ensure a claimant is eligible to receive benefits for that week, which lessens the chance of having an overpayment.
The Jobs4TN app allows claimants to easily complete their weekly certifications without having to use a computer or internet service. Using it directs traffic away from the Jobs4TN website, creating more capacity for Tennesseans to file online for unemployment benefits.
A claimant can use the same login credentials needed to access Jobs4TN.gov to log into the app. Once logged in, the user will find a series of questions to answer that will determine their weekly eligibility to receive unemployment benefits.
The entire weekly certification process using the mobile app should take between five and 10 minutes to complete.
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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:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- 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.