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Tennessee health officials confirm 26 COVID-19 cases statewide, 10 in Davidson County

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Posted at 11:50 AM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 09:47:56-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Editor's Note: Since the publication of this article, the Metro Public Health Department in Nashville has announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County.

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases of COVID-19, also known as the new coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 26. Ten of those cases are in Davidson County.

The department also confirmed new cases in other counties, including Rutherford and Hamilton.

  • Davidson -- 10
  • Hamilton -- 1
  • Jefferson -- 1
  • Knox -- 1
  • Rutherford -- 1
  • Shelby -- 2
  • Sullivan -- 1
  • Williamson -- 9

Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Friday that the city has formed a task force to respond and monitor the spread of the sickness. Cooper was joined by Board of Health Chairman Dr. Alex Jahangir, Director of Health Dr. Michael Caldwell and Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Dr. William Shaffner, an infectious diseases specialist.

"We have the resources to take on this challenge," said Cooper, referring to the robust health care industry in Music City. "We have some of the most brilliant medical minds in the country."

The Metro Coronavirus Task Force will include leading clinicians, epidemiologists, and other partners from Metro Government, educational institutions, hospitals, and other important community organizations. Cooper has named Dr. Jahangir as chair of the Coronavirus Task Force.

Cooper also said they've met with officials at all of the hospitals in Nashville and have been in touch with the White House to coordinate with federal efforts to combat the disease.

Metro officials said right now, they can’t say how many test kits are available and they are working to find out. However, it’s the Tennessee Department of Health that keeps track of that information.

Dr. Shaffner recommended older adults, specifically those over the age of 60, or with underlying health conditions avoid crowds and practice "social distancing."

"This word [pandemic] should not evoke panic. It is a pandemic because [COVID-19] has spread around the world. That is the definition of a pandemic," said Dr. Shaffner.

Gov. Bill Lee issued an "emergency declaration" on Thursday that "will move [Tennessee] into a position to bring in additional funds from FEMA and relax certain laws which will make it easier to respond to this disease."

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.