Announcement brings statewide count to three, heightens potential of community spread
Mayor John Cooper on Sunday confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus in Nashville.
The case comes days after the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the state in Williamson County. There has also been a confirmed case in Memphis, as of Sunday morning, bringing the total case count to three.
The Nashville case is an adult woman with no travel history. Metro health officials said the patient has mild symptoms and is being isolated in her home. She does not have children in the Metro Nashville Public Schools system. The source of her exposure is unknown as this time and is being investigated by Metro officials in conjunction with TDH and other federal and state partners.
Cooper told reporters Sunday morning he does not plan to cancel any large public events in the near future.
“Today, Nashville joins a growing list of cities in announcing our first presumptive coronavirus COVID-19 case,” Michael Caldwell, the city’s recently appointed health director, said. “I know this news can be alarming, but our guidance for the community remains the same. Everyone can do their part to help by remaining informed and continuing to take routine health precautions.”
For individuals with mild symptoms that need to get tested, TDH is advising people to coordinate those efforts via the state hotline and other online communications rather than show up to area hospitals or medical centers to prevent the virus from spreading within those facilities.
On Thursday, TDH has the capacity to test 85 specimens for coronavirus. That number has since gone up with support from the CDC and private labs, but state officials were unable to provide by how much.
“Right now, we are able to test all the specimens we have,” John Dunn, Tennessee Department of Health State Epidemiologist told the Post today.
The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are to:
• 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 cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash. If tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
For more information, you can also read:
• Metro Health’s coronavirus information and response page
• From our earlier coverage this week: Further Williamson coronavirus testing comes back negative
• From WPLN: Area hospitals set protocols in preparation for additional coronavirus cases
• From the Vanderbilt Hustler: A Q&A with coronavirus expert Mark Denison