The Tennessee Department of Health on Monday amended the number of Bradley County residents testing positive for COVID-19 to one, after indicating on Sunday there were two residents afflicted with the virus.
As of press time Tuesday, it was unknown why the figure for Bradley County was changed.
Late Monday, the Cleveland Daily Banner learned that local officials will be participating in a conference call late Tuesday morning with state officials regarding the amended count.
Further details will be provided as they are made available.
Monday's announcement by the TDH amended its Sunday totals for the county, which stated that another Bradley County individual had tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the number to two.
By mid-afternoon Monday, the TDH posted the following message on its social media page stating that "as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are making improvements to our tracking system. The March 23 case count update will be posted at 3 p.m. Central Time today only (instead of 2 p.m. CT)."
But when Monday's totals were posted, several comments on the TDH social media page indicated the numbers for several counties were inaccurate.
The post sparked a variety of reactions from confused Tennesseans.
"Bradley County back down to 1 ?????" wrote one commenter.
"How did Bradley County go from two to one?" asked another.
Davidson County's tally decreased to 164 on Monday, down from 167 as reported by TDH on Sunday.
"You have Davidson County at 164," someone wrote on the TDH's social media page. "Yesterday, it was 167. Davidson County Health [Department] reported 184 at 9:30 this morning. Your numbers are still wrong."
The Sunday announcement was made the same day Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight central time. Late Monday, Lee issued another executive order halting hospitals and surgical outpatient facilities from performing elective and non-emergency services.
In addition, Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks on Monday released a statement in response to the governor's executive order that listed additional safeguards members of the community need to follow to prevent the spread of the virus.
News of the second case follows an announcement made Friday by local officials of a first case involving a Bradley County individual who had tested positive for COVID-19.
In a joint press conference broadcast live on social media, Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis noted the person was not in serious condition and was being quarantined at home.
In the first case, Bradley County Health Department Director Brittany Hopkins said health officials could not disclose any patient information aside from their age range, noting the person is in the 41-50 year-old age category.
Bradley County Health Department Administrator Brittany Hopkins did not have information from the Tennessee Department of Health regarding the second individual who had tested positive for COVID-19.
"We just found out about it and have not been told anything yet," she told the Cleveland Daily Banner on Monday.
During the Friday press conference, officials said they tried to gather as much information as possible prior to the press conference, but a lot of questions remained unanswered.
They could not share the number of testing sites, the number of test kits or the restrictions for COVID-19 testing in Bradley County. Hopkins referred to the state health department, stating that the information made publicly available on their website, tn.gov/health
, is the same information that is being provided to their local office.
Davis and Brooks urged city and county residents to continue social distancing to “flatten the curve” or slow the spread of coronavirus cases.
The mayors also signed a countywide declaration of emergency at the conclusion of the press conference.
Lee's executive order
hits restaurants, bars
The governor's executive order will last until midnight, April 6, central time.
Lee said the COVID-19 pandemic “... has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects.”
“Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position,” Lee said.
He said Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and also enacts provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments.
“I urge every Tennessean to take these actions seriously — our physical and economic health depend on this as we work to beat COVID-19,” Lee said.
Mayor Kevin Brooks
Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks on Monday issued the following statement regarding Lee's executive order:
"On Sunday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order mandating businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight on Monday, March 23, until midnight on April 6," he said. "The order also outlines ways businesses and citizens should work to protect vulnerable populations."
Brooks said the governor's Executive Order 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and also enacts the following provisions regarding restaurants, bars, and similar food and drink establishments:
• Establishments are to exclusively offer drive-thru, take-out or delivery options to support families, businesses and the food supply chain during this emergency.
• Establishments may sell alcohol by take-out or delivery (with the purchase of food) in closed containers to those who are age 21 and up.
• Gyms and fitness/exercise centers or substantially similar facilities are to temporarily close and suspend in-person services until April 6, according to the mayor's statement.
In the meantime, these businesses are encouraged to pursue digital programming, if possible, Brooks said, echoing Lee's executive order.
The order also pursues additional measures to keep vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those with underlying conditions safe:
• Visitation to nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care or assisted-living facilities is now limited to visits involving essential care only.
• Businesses are encouraged to enact policies that take extra steps to assist vulnerable populations by considering measures such as shopping hours exclusive from the general public.
“The city of Cleveland will follow Executive Order 17 signed by Gov. Lee calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, until April 6, 2020," Brooks said. "This order does not affect drive-thru, take-out or delivery service for any establishments. Please continue to support our local businesses."
Furthermore, Brooks implored Cleveland residents to "stay at home" if they can, adding the coronavirus pandemic is a "very serious crisis, and [we should do] everything we can do as individuals, friends and family to social distance and stop the spread of this virus.'"
“We need people to consider sheltering in place, working from home if possible, participating in only necessary essential traveling, sanitizing frequently, and keeping a safe distance from others," he said. "This will be difficult, but these measures will shorten the time we need to deal with this virus,” he said.
Only limited reasons
for leaving home
In his statement, Brooks listed the types of reasons that could justify city residents leaving their homes. They include:
• Going to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store.
• Going to pharmacies to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities.
• Going to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first).
• Going to restaurants for take-out, delivery or drive-thru.
• Caring for, or supporting, a friend or family member
• Taking a walk, riding your bike, hiking, jogging and enjoying nature for exercise; but keep six feet apart.
• Walking with your pets and taking them to the veterinarian, if necessary.
• Helping someone to get necessary supplies.
• Receiving deliveries from any business which delivers.
"In short, only trips such as gas, post office, delivery, sanitation, waste, energy, water and legal services are all considered essential," the mayor said.
Brooks also lists
what not to do
• Not going to work unless you are providing essential services or it is absolutely necessary.
•Not visiting friends and family if there is no urgent need.
• Not visiting loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions.
Lee issues additional
Late Monday, the Tennessee governor issued another COVID-19-related executive order halting hospitals and surgical outpatient facilities from performing elective and non-emergency services.
He ordered the following statewide:
• Dental service providers in the state of Tennessee, including but not limited to
dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, periodontists,
prosthodontists and endodontists, shall not perform any non-emergency dental or
oral procedures. Non-emergency dental or oral procedures include hygiene visits,
cosmetic procedures and other elective procedures. Emergency procedures for
patients with acute dental or oral needs may still be performed, including treatment for pain, swelling, trauma or an abscess.
• All hospitals and surgical-outpatient facilities in the state of Tennessee shall not
perform non-essential procedures, which includes any medical procedure that is not necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve the health and safety of a patient, as determined by a licensed medical provider. All hospitals and
freestanding surgical outpatient facilities must postpone through the expiration of
this Order, at a minimum, joint replacement, bariatric surgery and cosmetic
surgery, except for emergency or trauma-related surgery where postponement
would significantly impact the health, safety or welfare of the patient. Medical
procedures excluded from postponement include, but are not limited to, surgeries
related to advanced cardiovascular disease (including coronary artery disease, heart failure and arrhythmias) that would prolong life; oncological testing, treatment and related procedures; pregnancy-related visits and procedures, including labor and delivery; organ transplantation; procedures related to dialysis; and emergency or trauma-related procedures where postponement would significantly impact the health, safety and welfare of the patient.
• Non-hospital healthcare providers impacted by this Order are requested and
encouraged to provide necessary personal protective equipment in their possession and not required for the emergency care exempted in the Order, including, but not limited to, medical gowns, N95 masks, surgical masks, TYVEK suits, boot covers, gloves and/or eye protection to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency by delivering such equipment to the nearest open Tennessee National Guard Armory listed on the TEMA website (www.tn.gov/tema
) between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
• Any state or local law, order, rule, or regulation that would limit the application of this Order is hereby suspended.
• This Order shall be effective and enforceable at 12:01 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on March 24, 2020, and shall remain in effect until 12:01 a.m., Central Daylight Time, on April 13, 2020, at which time the suspension of any state laws and rules and the other provisions of this Order shall cease and be of no further force or effect.
Public school systems have closed their campuses to students as well, only allowing essential administrators to operate from their offices in shifts to limit the number of people in the office at one time.
School systems are continuing to feed students through remote food sites and meal delivery using their bus routes. Universities and public schools are using programs like Zoom and Google Hangout to continue remote learning and virtual meetings during the extended closure.
By order of the U.S. Supreme Court, all municipal courts are to remain closed until March 31. The city of Cleveland is also limiting visitation and implementing a reservation system for all business at the Municipal Building. In addition to those closures, the city of Cleveland has closed all playgrounds at all city parks, but parks, walking trails and greenways will stay open.
The latest numbers
of COVID-19 cases
Last week, COVID-19 cases in Tennessee surpassed 500 after reporting only 18 cases just seven days prior.
By midday Monday, the Tennessee Department of Health released its daily COVID-19 report and announced 615 cases had been confirmed in the state, including 12 cases in Hamilton County, as well as one case in Bradley County. (Note: The Hamilton County number, which rose from its previous count of 8, is also under dispute, according to Chattanooga news outlets as of Monday night.)
According to the TDH, out of 983 COVID-19 tests completed, 911 individuals tested negative for the virus.
The age ranges for those testing positive were 184 cases for those between 21 and 30, and 116 cases for those between 31 and 40. The Bradley County individual who tested positive for the virus was between the ages of 41 and 50.
As of Monday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reported 41,708 active cases in the U.S. So far, 573 Americans have died from the virus.
Worldwide, there have been 372,573 confirmed cases, resulting in 16,381 deaths. However, 100,885 have recovered, according to the same site.
Two COVID-19-related deaths have occurred in Tennessee, according to the Association Press.
On Friday, a 73-year-old man in Nashville with underlying health conditions became Tennessee's first fatality linked to the new coronavirus, followed by the death of a second man, Ron Golden — the brother of Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.
The lieutenant governor announced her brother's death via a social media post, according to the AP.
In her post, Flanagan said her brother died Saturday in Tennessee. She said he had been diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago and his immune system was compromised.
He had been in a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator, according to Flanagan.
“He fought it as hard as he could but it was simply too much for his body," she said. It is why we must #StayHome,” she wrote, inserting a hashtag into her quote.
“If you feel fine, that’s great," she added. "But please consider the possibility that you’re carrying the virus and don’t know it, and then you walk past the next Ron, my big brother, in public."