Tennessee still stepping up COVID-19 testing

By KAITLIN GEBBY
Posted 5/14/20

The governor’s Unified Command Group is beginning voluntary COVID-19 testing in high-yield populations this week among Nashville’s residents in Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency …

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Tennessee still stepping up COVID-19 testing

Posted
The governor’s Unified Command Group is beginning voluntary COVID-19 testing in high-yield populations this week among Nashville’s residents in Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency communities. 
 
In lieu of an announcement made by the governor, who has pulled away from daily COVID-19 press conferences, Unified Command released a statement Wednesday for its MDHA testing. 
 
“Gov. Lee directed the UCG in April to expand our COVID-19 testing efforts to test more Tennesseans,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey. “Collaborating with housing authorities in Tennessee’s metropolitan areas provides the means to get COVID-19 tests to communities whose members are particularly vulnerable to the virus.”
 
Between today and Friday, 14 Nashville MDHA communities will have medics with the Tennessee National Guard on-site to collect samples for testing. 
 
According to the release, participants will receive their test results within 72 hours. 
 
In the past, Gov. Bill Lee has been asked about the availability of rapid testing in Tennessee. At one time, only a small supply of rapid-result tests were available, but now it seems that supply has dried up. Lee said the scarcity in rapid testing is due to a lack of availability in the chemicals required to conduct the test, also referred to as “re-agents.” 
 
It is unknown whether high-yield testing will be available for nearby Chattanooga or if free weekend testing will be offered again by TDH. 
 
Free testing and personal protective equipment are available at all county health departments. 
 
The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) staff will be joining the MDHA testing events on Thursday and Friday to provide residents with information on how to apply for TDHS’s COVID-19 support programs, including:
 
COVID-19 Emergency Cash Assistance: Provides two months of cash payments to families who’ve lost a job or are earning half of their earned income due to COVID-19.
 
COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program: Provides payment assistance at licensed child-care facilities for essential workers.
 
• Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP): Supplements monthly food budgets of families with low-income to buy the food they need and allow them to direct more of their available income toward essential living expenses.
 
• Families First: Provides temporary assistance for those seeking employment with child care, transportation, educational support and job training. It has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment
 
More information on TDHS’s COVID-19 programs is available at tn.gov/humanservices. 
 
After testing,
here's what
to expect
 
The coronavirus test is much like the flu test, in which a long swab is inserted into the nostril to collect a sample. 
 
For COVID-19 testing, two swabs are used, one for each nostril. 
 
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, individuals who have been tested for COVID-19, or who plan to be tested, can expect their results to be communicated with them from public health officials immediately after their results become available. 
 
Those tested are then asked to monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms, which include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or diarrhea. 
 
The TDH says anyone with “any symptoms” shown above should isolate themselves while awaiting test results. 
 
Individuals who are asymptomatic are not required to self-isolate while awaiting results unless they have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days or someone with COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days, TDH reported.
 
If someone has had secondary exposure, the department of health will contact them using their contact-tracing system. 
 
Covering one’s cough, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer where handwashing is unavailable, and disinfecting frequently used surfaces with a household cleaner are still the recommended best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
 
A PDF link to the department of health’s full list of symptoms, procedures and prevention is available in the online version of this story. 
 
State, nationwide
case numbers 
show increases
 
Tennessee has accumulated 16,370 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and has maintained a steady growth rate of 2% to 3% over the last 14 days. 
 
In total, 273 Tennesseans have died and 8,624 have recovered. From Tuesday to Wednesday, the state saw nearly 30 more reported recoveries than new cases, according to TDH data. 
 
At least 1,388 people have been hospitalized and 292,917 people have been tested. 
 
Bradley County
now reporting
75 virus cases
 
In Bradley County, 75 people have been confirmed with the virus. A total of 51 residents have recovered from COVID-19 and one individual has died, meaning there are 23 active cases in the county. 
 
Nationwide, the U.S. has confirmed over 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 and 84,136 people have died — over 20,000 more American casualties than in the Vietnam War. 
 
Tennessee is 33rd in coronavirus deaths among the 50 American states.
 
Bradley County
neighbors report
slight increases
 
Confirmed case totals for Bradley County neighbors include:
 
• Grundy: 30 cases, 24 recoveries and 1 death;
 
• Hamilton: 286 cases, 119 recoveries and 13 deaths;
 
• Marion: 29 cases, 23 recoveries and 1 death;
 
• McMinn: 123 cases, 41 recoveries and 9 deaths;
 
• Meigs: 22 cases, 17 recoveries and 0 deaths;
 
• Monroe: 33 cases, 19 recoveries and 1 death;
 
• Polk: 12 cases, 9 recoveries and 0 deaths;
 
• Rhea: 6 cases, 5 recoveries and 0 deaths;
 
• Sequatchie: 7 cases, 6 recoveries and 0 deaths;
 
Counties with Tennessee's highest number of cases include:
 
• Bedford: 246 cases, 157 recoveries and 3 deaths;
 
• Bledsoe: 603 cases, 592 recoveries and 1 death;
 
• Davidson: 3,623 cases, 2,055 recoveries and 37 deaths;
 
• Knox: 295 cases, 233 recoveries and 5 deaths;
 
• Madison: 156 cases, 132 recoveries and 1 death;
 
• Montgomery: 191 cases, 92 recoveries and 2 deaths;
 
• Putnam: 190 cases, 98 recoveries and 5 deaths;
 
• Rutherford: 780 cases, 316 recoveries and 20 deaths;
 
• Shelby: 3,475 cases, 2,029 recoveries and 75 deaths;
 
• Sumner: 714 cases, 347 recoveries and 40 deaths;
 
• Trousdale: 1,381 cases, 40 recoveries and 3 deaths;
 
• Williamson: 453 cases, 313 recoveries and 10 deaths; and
 
• Wilson: 309 cases, 187 recoveries and 8 deaths.
 

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