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Mayor Cooper declares state of emergency in Davidson County as COVID-19 cases rise

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 17:40:34-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper signed an executive order to declare an immediate state of emergency in Metro Nashville and Davidson County as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

On Wednesday morning, there were 58 confirmed cases of the illness in Davidson County.

The declaration will enhance Metro Government's ability to respond to the outbreak.

"A coordinated response is the most effective response, and a declaration of emergency provides Metro Government and all our local partners with responsible but rapid resourcing and decision-making capabilities to overcome the challenge of the coronavirus," said Mayor Cooper. "Our number one priority is to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community. Just as the federal government, governor’s office, and local health department have declared states of emergency to prevent the spread of this virus and help those who have been afflicted, Nashville must use this declaration as a valuable tool to protect all our residents."

Metro's Emergency Operations Center has been fully activated since a tornado ripped through the county early March 3. With the executive order, the Emergency Operations Center will add COVID-19 response action in partnership with local hospitals and healthcare providers.

Nashville's Coronavirus Task Force is currently working with healthcare providers to set up an assessment hotline where residents can call if they are feeling ill.

Metro Nashville has launched a website, COVID19.Nashville.Gov, to keep residents informed on COVID-19 cases in Davidson County.

A public health emergency was declared by the Metro Board of Health on Sunday night, which allowed the Metro Director of Health to use additional measure to effort curbing the spread of the virus.

MORE TENNESSEE COVID-19 COVERAGE

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COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES IN TENNESSEE

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.

Prevention

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.