First case of coronavirus in Anderson County, mayor says

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — There are now 155 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced on Thursday afternoon that there were 154 cases. Shortly after the announcement, the Anderson County mayor said the county had its first case of COVID-19. The mayor said the individual "has self-isolated and the Health Department is currently engaged in contact tracing and education."

Cases by county
Anderson County - 1
Campbell County - 1
Cheatham County - 1
Cumberland County - 1
Davidson County - 75
Dyer County - 1
Hamilton County - 1
Jefferson County - 1
Knox County - 2
Montgomery County - 1
Robertson County - 2
Rutherford County - 1
Sevier County - 1
Shelby County - 4
Sullivan County - 1
Sumner County - 3
Williamson County - 30
Wilson County - 1
Residents of Other States/Countries - 26
Unknown 1

Bill Lee said on March 19 that 15 people have been hospitalized.

The health department website has a second case located in Knox County; however, the Knox County Health Department held a press conference to clarify the case.

Officials said that the second case actually "has not been in Knox County" during "anytime of their illness." They have been in another state and in another country. The person has an address of record in Knox County, which is why the health department has labeled the case in Knox County.

"It's not all that common...but it is how they count things," Dr. Martha Buchanan said.

Here are the number of cases by age:

0-10 2
11-20 9
21-30 43
31-40 32
41-50 24
51-60 18
61-70 10
71-80 8
80+ 8

According to the mayor's office, the Campbell County Health Department advised that a patient "was tested by qualified medical professionals and is remaining in their home." The mayor's office said they were told this at about 6:30 p.m. last Friday.

The mayor's office said the health department advised that the patient "has not communicated the virus to any other person."

The mayor said the patient had returned from an overseas flight.

"The Tennessee and Campbell County Health Departments are monitoring this patient and have declared that this patient has not communicated the virus to any other person. The public need take no special action beyond good personal hygiene and cleanliness," the mayor's office said.

On Thursday, WVLT broke the news that Knox County identified its first confirmed case of coronavirus, four days after the Knox County patient returned from overseas travel. Officials have not confirmed whether or not the Campbell County patient and the Knox County patient were on the same flight.

WVLT News confirmed the Knox County patient arrived at McGhee Tyson Airport Monday night on board Delta flight 5094 from Atlanta.

Knox County Health Department officials said the patient was considered an isolated case who did not require hospitalization. They said the patient immediately isolated themselves to ensure no contact with the community.

Local health departments are in charge of contacting passengers considered to have had close contact with the patient and notifying them about the next steps to take.

COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets of moisture like those emitted through sneezing or coughing.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines close contact as being within about 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period or, "having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)."

County officials said they were preparing for the virus to make it's way to Knox County. “Knox County has been preparing for the possibility of a case of COVID-19 since it was first reported in the United States,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs. “Our Knox County Health Department is coordinating our response efforts and will continue to work to reduce the spread of infection and protect the health of all people in Knox County.”

“We understand the concern surrounding COVID-19, but we hope Knox County citizens can take some comfort in the fact that we were expecting a case, and that we routinely utilize extensive plans and national best practice to respond to all reportable infectious diseases in Knox County,” said KCHD Senior Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “The most important thing the public can do is to follow the CDC guidance, which includes the standard hygiene practices we recommend to prevent the spread of flu and other viruses.”

No deaths have been reported in the state in relation to the virus.

Health department officials said while symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe, most cases are mild. "Fever and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, are some of the common symptoms. Other typical cold symptoms such as runny nose and a sore throat are generally not associated with COVID-19," according to a release.

Guidance released by the CDC advises practicing preventative measures to help stop an outbreak in your community by:

- Avoiding contact with people who are sick
- If you are sick, stay home
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue
- Clean frequently touched surfaces daily
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

KCHD launched a COVID-19 Public Information Line. The hotline number is 865-215-5555 or individuals may call toll-free at 888-288-6022. The information line will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Call volume is expected to be high. Callers are urged to be patient if they receive a busy signal and try their call at a later time. People with concerns about their health should contact their health care providers.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the CDC was awarding Tennessee $10,078,293 to support the state's coronavirus efforts.

“State and local health departments are on the front-lines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are deeply grateful for their work,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “CDC is distributing this new funding extremely rapidly, as called for by Congress. President Trump, and his entire administration will continue working to ensure state and local jurisdictions have the resources they need to keep Americans safe and healthy.”

For more information regarding CDC recommendations click here

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