TENNESSEE (WATE) — As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and plans for reopening of the economy ramp up in Tennessee, state and local officials are issuing new or updated responses and directives on a daily basis.

The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 originated in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization had declared the global coronavirus crisis to be a pandemic. Previously, WHO had declared the coronavirus as a public health emergency on Jan. 30. The first case of the novel coronavirus in the US had been reported in mid-January in Washington state. COVID-19 has since spread into the United States.

Below is a timeline of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impacts in Tennessee and the East Tennessee region.

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MORE | Coronavirus information page
MORE | Tennessee Department of Health coronavirus information
STATE COVID-19 ASSESSMENT SITES | https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/health/cedep/ncov/remote-assessment-sites.html

Coming into the month of July, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 43,509 COVID-19 cases as of June 30, including 604 deaths, 2,665 hospitalizations and 27,599 recovered.

7/31: State closes out July with nearly 106,000 cases, 1,060 deaths; Knox County records 28th death

7/31: Kentucky boutique donates 500 masks to Jellico Elementary School

More than 500 masks made their way to Jellico Elementary School thanks to Pink Tag Boutique. The Lousiville, Kentucky, store made the delivery to the school in Campbell County on the Tennessee-Kentucky border after joining the Superhero Mask Project.

For every customer who ordered a mask from the store, a mask was donated. The Superhero Mask Project is a Kentucky-based volunteer group that gives masks to those facing shortages. Masks have gone to health care workers, caregivers and older adults.

7/30: Pandemic leads Maryville pizza restaurant to close permanently

In and Out Pizza in Maryville is shutting its doors. The restaurant posted to Facebook saying there was hope to stay open with a smaller staff and switch to a carry-out/delivery model. The In and Out Pizza location on West Andrew Johnson Highway in Morristown will remain open.

7/30: State case count goes over 102,000; Knox County reports 4 new deaths

  • On Thursday the case count in Tennessee grew to 102,871 and COVID-19 recoveries were 64,234. Cases of the virus increased by 2,049 from Wednesday, an increase of 2%.
  • According to the TDOH, 13 more Tennesseans have died from COVID-19, according to the statistics. That is a 1.3% increase from Wednesday and the death toll is 1,033.
  • Knox County reported four new deaths and 108 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a 3.06% increase in the total case count. Knox County also reported 104 new recovered cases.

7/29: Gus’s Good Times Deli switching back to delivery, to-go only sales

Beloved sandwich shop Gus’s Good Times Deli is making the switch back to delivery and to-go only sales beginning on Aug. 1. The restaurant just off the Cumberland Avenue Strip next to the University of Tennessee campus is a staple for many students.

The deli made the announcement on its Facebook page.

In April the nearly 40-year-old establishment put out a call for customers when business was scarce at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The response was overwhelming.

7/29: Central Depot Knox to move back to to-go sales as well as adding outdoor seating

Central Depot Knox has announced that it will be closed Wednesday to prepare to adjust its schedule, and starting Thursday, July 30, they will bring back to-go sales, and are adding outdoor seating.

There will no longer be any indoor seating, but you’re encouraged to enjoy your drink and food on their makeshift patio.

7/29: State has had over 100,000 cases and 1,000 deaths from COVID-19

  • It is a day of milestones for the coronavirus pandemic in Tennessee. On Wednesday, the case count grew to more than 100,000 and COVID-19 deaths crossed over the 1,000 mark.
  • Cases of the virus increased by 1,778 from Tuesday to 100,822 — an increase of 1.8%.
  • Twenty-one more Tennesseans have died from COVID-19, according to the statistics for Wednesday. That is a 2.1% increase from Tuesday and the death toll is now 1,020.
  • There have been 4,482 hospitalizations and 62,129 recoveries. Some 1,455,120 tests have been administered in Tennessee.

7/28: TDH reports nearly 98K confirmed COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 99,044 (97,966 confirmed, 1,078 probable) as of July 28, 2020 including 999 deaths, 4,372 hospitalizations and 59,760 recovered.

7/28: Tusculum University art director donates masks for Greeneville High commencement

  • Tusculum University Arts Outreach’s costume director Erin Schultz put her skills and sewing machine to work creating face masks for the Greeneville High students who will graduate Saturday, Aug. 1. Schultz made 300 masks, all in Kelly green to match Greeneville High’s main school color.
  • Schultz used some fabric from the university’s costume shop to make the coverings and supplemented that with material she and her husband purchased.
  • Since the onset of the coronavirus, Schultz has used her creativity with costume shop material to make hundreds of masks for Tusculum family members as well as those in the community.
  • “Erin stepped forward and added greatly to the quality of our graduation ceremony with the beautiful masks she created,” said Patrick Fraley, Greeneville High’s principal. “We are thankful Erin agreed to use her considerable talent to make our ceremony even more special. Her actions also demonstrate the support by Tusculum of our community.”

7/28: Medic Regional to begin testing
for COVID-19 antibodies for all donations

  • MEDIC Regional Blood Center will begin screening all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies in August.
  • The blood donation center said all donors from Aug. 3-31 will have to sign a separate consent form. Appointments and masks are required at all donor centers and all community drives. Masks will be provided if a donor does not have one.
  • Anyone refusing to wear a mask will be asked to return when restrictions may be lifted. Anyone choosing not to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies will be asked to return in September when the testing window is closed.

7/27: Top White House Coronavirus Task Force doctor urges Tennesseans to wear masks as cases rise to 96,489

  • Dr. Deborah Birx of the White Hosue Coronavirus Task Force urged Tennessean on Monday to wear masks to slow the spread of the virus as the state saw cases increase by 2,553 from Sunday to 96.489 — an increase of 2.7%
  • Deaths rose by 11 to 978, an increase of 1.1%. Knox County reported three new virus-related deaths on Monday.
  • “If every mayor throughout this great state would mandate masks, close the bars, and substantially increase indoor dining distancing, together, we can get through this,” Birx pleaded during a news conference.

7/26: Another big jump in cases to 93,936, up by 3,140

  • The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee took a big jump to 93,936 on Sunday with 3,140 new cases reported — an increase of 3.5%, the Tennessee Department of Health said.
  • Deaths rose by three to 967, an increase of 0.3% from Saturday. Knox County reported its 23rd death from the virus on Saturday.
  • There are currently 4,244 reported hospitalizations and 54,730 recoveries. There have been 1,381,859 virus tests done.

7/25:1,718 new cases, 26 new deaths from COVID-19

  • The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee passed by the 90,000 mark on Saturday with 1,718 new cases reported — an increase of 1.9%, the Tennessee Department of Health said.
  • The state now has had 90,796 coronavirus cases. Knox County, with 2,959 cases, has moved to No. 5 in the list of Tennessee counties with the most cases.
  • Deaths rose by 26 to 964, an increase of 2.8% from Friday. Knox County reported its 23rd death from the virus on Saturday. There have been 117 COIVD-19 deaths reported by the state since Monday.
  • There are currently 4,196 reported hospitalizations and 53,808 recoveries. There have been 1,331,428 total tests.
  • Alcoa City Schools announced said it has a positive case for COVID-19 at its middle school. The school just started back this week.
  • NEW STUDY; Lingering symptoms can even affect otherwise healthy young adults. Among those aged 18 to 34 with no chronic illness, 1 in 5 were still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after two to three weeks, the study found.

7/25: Sweet P’s Barbeque & Soul House to temporarily close its Maryville Pike location

Sweet P’s Barbeque & Soul House announced on Facebook that it has decided to temporarily close its Maryville Pike location due to a possible second hand contact with a person who’s tested positive for COVID-19.

“The health of our staff and guests is our priority and we thank you for understanding. We will not reopen until our team member has been tested and we have taken appropriate care of the situation. You can still visit our Downtown location at 410 W Jackson. The Soul House should be back open very soon!”

Sweet P’s Barbeque & Soul House

7/24: TDH reports more than 89K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 89,078 as of July 24, 2020 including 938 deaths, 4,120 hospitalizations and 52,983 recovered.

7/24: Knox County reports 137 new cases, 22nd death

READ MORE >> Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County reports 137 new cases, 22nd death

7/23: Clarence Brown Theatre closes for rest of 2020

7/23: Zoo Knoxville Feast with the Beast canceled

  • One of Zoo Knoxville’s largest fundraisers has been canceled amid the pandemic. The popular Feast with the Beasts brings together area restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries for a night of grazing and music among the animals.

7/23: State launching face mask campaign on Friday, July 24

  • Gov. Bill Lee announced the state will launch a public service announcement campaign that urges all Tennesseans to fight against the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask. The “Face It. Masks Fight COVID-19” ad campaign will run on broadcast and cable television, digital, social media, print and billboards statewide.

“Wearing a face covering when in public is a simple but effective way for us to each do our part and help stop the spread of COVID-19. I wear a mask every day at the office, when Maria and I are out in public, and especially when I visit my 87-year-old mother. 

“It’s a personal choice for Tennesseans, but it’s one that could very well save lives and allow our economy to get fully back on track.”

Governor Bill Lee

7/23: TDH reports more than 86K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 86,987 as of July 23, 2020 including 925 deaths, 4,016 hospitalizations and 51,661 recovered.

7/23: Sevier County sees rise in new cases

  • There are 1,269 confirmed and probable cases, 13,239 negative tests, 867 recoveries, 398 active cases, 43 hospitalizations since the outbreak, and 4 deaths in Sevier County due to COVID-19. 

7/23: Koinonia Foundation releases at-home activities for individuals with disabilities

  • The nonprofit Koinonia Foundation is offering a book of activities in lieu of its normal Camp Koinonia programs. The Koinonia at Home book was created by camp counselors and staff and offers arts and crafts, exercise, music, science, cooking, and game activities appropriate for individuals with disabilities. The book can be accessed on The Koinonia Foundation’s website, www.kftn.org.
  • “Koinonia at Home is an excellent resource for families seeking at-home activities during these challenging times in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Camp Koinonia Program Director Angela Wozencroft. “This collection of activities helps bring the camp environment home! The e-book offers a one-stop source for a variety of fun, creative, and adaptable activities that are appropriate for all ages and abilities.” 

7/22: TDH reports more than 84K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 84,417 as of July 22, 2020 including 888 deaths, 3,907 hospitalizations and 49,748 recovered.

7/21: 8th District Public Defender announces office closures

  • The 8th District Public Defender’s Office, which serves Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union Counties, announced it has now closed its offices to the public again.
  • There is no timeline for reopening those offices. District Public Defender Leif Jeffers says attorneys will continue to appear in court as needed.

7/21: COVID-19 cases surpass 81K in Tennessee

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 81,944 as of July 21, 2020 including 871 deaths, 3,798 hospitalizations and 47,852 recovered.

7/21: Knox County Health Department reports 20 death from COVID-19

  • While the Knox County Health Department reported its 20th death from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the number of new recoveries more than doubled the number of new active COVID-19 cases.
  • Of the 78 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday, Knox County reported one new death, 23 new active cases and 54 new recoveries.
  • There are 1,334 active COVID-19 cases in the county and 20 people have died from the virus. Fifteen of the 20 deaths in the county have been reported since July 2.

7/20: TDH reports more than 78K confirmed COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 79,754 as of July 20, 2020 including 847 deaths, 3,712 hospitalizations and 45,974 recovered.

7/19: TDH reports more than 78K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 78,115 as of July 19, 2020 including 843 deaths, 3,681 hospitalizations and 44,319 recovered.

7/18: TDH reports more than 76K cases of COVID-19

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 76,336 as of July 18, 2020 including 838 deaths, 3,649 hospitalizations and 43,706 recovered.

7/18: KCHD reports 1,189 active COVID-19 cases

  • The Knox County Health Department reported 1,189 active cases on Saturday, up from 1,100 cases on Friday, along with one new death.
  • Knox County reported 89 new active cases and 20 new recoveries on Saturday. There have now been 2,163 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 18 people have died from the virus in Knox County.

7/17: White House task force report recommends Tennessee, 17 other states roll back reopening

  • Tennessee is one of 17 states that the White House Task Force said was in the “red zone” for cases recommended rollback reopening, according to the leaked document. “Red Zone” means they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. The report reveals Tennessee had 155 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week, compared to the national average of 119 per 100,000.

7/17: TDH reports nearly 74,000 COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 73,819 as of July 17, 2020 including 815deaths, 3,562 hospitalizations and 42,734 recovered.

7/17: 1,100 active Knox County cases after second triple-digit spike

  • The Knox County Health Department reported 1,100 active cases on Friday after reporting the second spike of over 100 cases this week.
  • Knox County reported 134 new active cases and 13 new recoveries on Friday. There are now 1,100 active COVID-19 cases and 17 people have died from the virus in Knox County.
  • It’s the biggest one-day spike in active cases and the second spike of over 100 new cases. The first triple-digit spike came on Tuesday. Spikes of 93 cases were reported on July 4 and July 6.

READ MORE >> Coronavirus in Tennessee: 1,100 active Knox County cases after second triple-digit spike

7/16: TDH reports more than 71K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 71,540 as of July 16, 2020 including 796 deaths, 3,497 hospitalizations and 41,250 recovered.

7/15: TDH reports 69K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 69,061 as of July 15, 2020 including 783 deaths, 3,434 hospitalizations and 39,857 recovered.

7/14: Free testing event Thursday at East Knoxville church

  • Greater Warner Tabernacle AME Zion Church will host a free walk-up COVID-19 testing event from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, July 16. No appointment is needed and you do not have to be experiencing symptoms to receive a test. No ID is required. The church is located at 3800 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.

7/14: 118 new cases in Knox County, largest one-day rise yet

  • The Knox County Health Department reported 118 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the biggest one-day jump in total cases yet. There are now 839 active COVID-19 cases in Knox County. The Health Department also reported 14 new recoveries and one new death.
  • Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, said on Monday lab delays as a result of the increase in volume in testing and lack of testing supplies has caused a decline in the number of reported cases. It is unclear how many of the new cases on Tuesday are a result of a delay in the return of test results to the department.

7/13: Olibea returns to take-out only amid concerns with COVID-19

  • An Old City favorite, has decided to close their doors once again, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
  • Olibea said in an announcement Monday afternoon that the owners have made a decision to prioritize health over profit and while this presents hardships, they say it’s needed.
  • Starting Wednesday, July 15, the restaurant along Central Street will stop in-person service and return to take-out only.

7/13: COVID-19 cases have doubled in less than a month to 65,274

  • Tennessee reported 3,314 new coronavirus cases on Monday — a new single-day record — for a total of 65,274. In mid-June, the state had but 31,160 cases.
  • The 3,314 new cases is a 5.3% one-day increase. Deaths rose to 749 on Monday, an increase of eight, the Tennessee Department of Health reported.
  • Some 36,996 people have recovered from the virus. There have been 3,284 people hospitalized and 1,053,424 have been tested.

7/13: State courthouse mask mandate begins

  • The Tennessee Supreme Court’s order requiring all persons entering a courthouse for the purpose of court-related business to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth has gone into effect. The face-covering shall be worn at all times while in the building. The Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order on May 26 allowing for jury trials to begin after July 3.
  • The order provides several exceptions, including for those under age 12 and individuals with a bona fide medical reason. Further information is available on the Court’s coronavirus webpage.

7/10: Walters State making graduation virtual event

  • Plans to hold commencement in person at Walters State Community College have fallen through as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to linger. The college hoped to move ceremonies from May to July but announced amid the surge in cases, that the event would be held virtually. Spring 2020 grads will be invited to participate in winter graduation as well. The date of the virtual graduation has not been announced.
  • “This decision will be disappointing to many of our students and their families; however, we must err on the side of caution in protecting the health and safety of everyone involved,” Walters State Community College President Tony Miksa said.

7/8: Knox County reports 10th COVID-19 death

7/7: Sevier County mandates masks

7/7 Anderson County among those opting not to require masks

7/6: TDH reports more than 52K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 52,155 as of July 6, 2020 including 653 deaths, 2,897 hospitalizations and 31,020 recovered.

7/6: Sevier County reports 830 COVID-19 cases

  • There are 830 confirmed and probable cases, 9,751 negative tests, 459 recoveries, 368 active cases, 26 hospitalizations since the outbreak, and 3 deaths in Sevier County due to COVID-19.

7/5: Knox County deaths rise by two

7/4: Tennessee coronavirus cases top 50,000

7/4: Knox County has record 93 new coronavirus cases

7/3: Governor issues order allowing county mayors to require face masks

7/3: Dolly Parton’s Stampede reopens

  • Dolly Parton’s Stampede is reopening just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. The high-energy adventure dinner show opened with operations following Tennessee Pledge guidelines. Guests are recommended to make reservations as shows are operating at half capacity to allow for social distancing.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner attraction is reopening today. Source: dpstampede.com/pigeon-forge

7/3: TDH reports 48,712 COVID-19 cases going into holiday weekend

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 48,712 as of July 3, 2020 including 633 deaths, 2,825 hospitalizations and 29,591 recovered.

7/2: TDH reports close to 47K COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 46,890 as of July 2, 2020 including 620 deaths, 2,775 hospitalizations and 28,938 recovered.

7/2: Sevier County continues to see rise in COVID-19 cases

  • Sevier County announced Thursday there were 733 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases reported.

7/2: Knox County reports first death from COVID-19 since April, sixth overall

  • The Knox County Health Department confirmed the county’s sixth death from COVID-19 and the third day of more than 50 new cases in the last four days.
  • The death is the first in the county since April 28. There are 18 Knox County COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized, up from 13 on Wednesday.
  • The Health Department reported 70 new COVID-19 cases. Spikes of 53 and 50 cases were seen on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.
  • The number of active cases went up by 52 to bring the number of active cases to 323. KCHD also reported 17 new recovered cases Thursday.
  • There have been 1,047 total cases in the county.

7/1: Knox County passes mask mandate for indoor places

  • A new mask mandate dubbed the “COVID-19 Face Covering Regulation” has been approved by the Knox County Board of Health that will go into effect for some indoor public places Friday, July 3.
  • The resolution reads, in part, no person age 12 or older will be allowed within 6 feet of another person in an indoor public place without a mask; there are some exceptions for the mandate.

READ MORE >> Knox County Board of Health passes mask mandate for indoor places

7/1: Sevier County reports 657 COVID-19 cases

7/1: TDH reports 45K cases

  • The Tennessee Department of Health reported the total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee was at 45,315 as of July 1, 2020 including 609 deaths, 2,715 hospitalizations and 28,283 recovered.