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Davidson County confirms 110 cases of COVID-19; gyms to close, restaurants to stop dine-in service

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Posted at 8:33 AM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 19:20:27-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro health officials have confirmed 50 additional cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County, bringing the county's total to 110.

The age range for all confirmed cases in Nashville is from 11 to 73 years old. Of the confirmed cases, two remain hospitalized and 15 people have recovered from the virus. The remaining cases are self-isolating at home and have mild and manageable symptoms.

To help slow the spread of the virus, all Davidson County restaurants will be closed to dine-in customers. Only take-out orders, drive-thru service, curbside pickup and delivery services will be allowed. Additionally, all gyms will be closed.

Dr. Michael Caldwell, Metro’s Chief Medical Director, will be issuing a public health advisory for churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other houses of worship, urging all faith organizations to refrain from physically meeting. Mayor Cooper will meet with faith leaders today to discuss the public health advisory and organize a weekend of prayer across Nashville.

Metro Water Services, Nashville Electric Service and Piedmont Natural Gas are working to provide help for customers during the pandemic:

  • Metro Water Services will not assess late fees or disconnect water services to any MWS customers for the next two months. Additionally, any MWS customer who needs to defer payment within this two-month period may make a request by calling (615) 862-4600. Account balances that are deferred will be evenly spread out over a 12-month period.
  • Nashville Electric Service has suspended all disconnects, including disconnects for nonpayment, and late fees until May 31. Contact NES at (615) 736-6900 for more information.
  • Piedmont Natural Gas is suspending disconnections for non-payment, waiving late fees and insufficient check fees, and offering flexible payment terms to both residential and commercial customers upon request. Contact Piedmont Natural Gas at 1-800-752-7504 for more information.

The Nashville COVID-19 Task Force is creating two new Community Assessment Centers for people to get tested for the virus.

Tennessee lawmakers also passed a $39.8 billion state budget in a marathon, 14-hour session that ended late Thursday night. Now $150 million will cover public health issues related to the virus. Governor Lee also signed off on putting in $350 million in the state's rainy-day fund.

Governor Bill Lee spoke about the budget Friday morning, saying: “our work has only just begun to address these great challenges.”

Lee also addressed panic-buying and food hoarding across the state, saying Tennessee’s food chain is stable and secure. He also said churches that are still gathering are risking people’s lives and must find ways to worship without congregating people.

Daycares will remain open in Tennessee but they are working with facilities to keep children in crowds less than 10. He’s asking churches to step in and floated the idea of using empty school buildings to have bigger spaces.

Lee said he will avoid using mandates for business closures as long as he can.

“Every day we can keep businesses open but still utilize social distancing, we are striking the right balance between business,” Lee said.

He also said they’re working with TennCare to use Medicaid dollars to treat the uninsured for COVID 19. However, that hasn’t been approved yet.

MORE TENNESSEE COVID-19 COVERAGE

See all our coronavirus coverage here

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.