Coronavirus Timeline: May 2020

Coronavirus Resources

Tracking coronavirus (WATE)

TENNESSEE (WATE) — As the novel coronavirus 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 on Jan. 20 in Washington state. COVID-19 has since spread throughout the world and into the United States.

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

RELATED | Coronavirus Timeline: March 2020
RELATED | Coronavirus Timeline: April 2020

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

5/31: Tennessee ends May with 23,006 coronavirus cases

Tennessee ends May with 23,006 confirmed coronavirus cases, 364 deaths from the virus and 15,300 recoveries, the Tennessee Department of Health reported Sunday.

Cases rose by 440 — or 1.9% — from Saturday. The number of deaths from the coronavirus is unchanged from Saturday at 364, according to the Department of Health.

There have been 1,750 people hospitalized and 15,300 have recovered.

Cases are up 2,861 — 14.2% — since last Sunday and are up 11,115 — 93.5% — from May 1.

Death are up by 160 from May 1 or 78.4%.

5/30: Tennessee reports 22,566 COVID-19 cases and 364 deaths

The Saturday coronavirus report from the Tennessee Department of Health shows 22,566 confirmed coronavirus cases, 364 deaths from the virus and 15,193 recoveries.

Cases rose by 481 — or 2.2% — from Friday. The number of deaths from the coronavirus is up by four — or a 1.1% one-day increase, according to the Department of Health.

There have been 1,732 people hospitalized and 1,5193 have recovered.

Since the beginning of the month, cases in Tennessee have risen 89.8%, or 10,675 cases since the May 1 total.

The latest update from the widely followed Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s COVID-19 projections predicts 734 deaths in Tennessee and by Aug. 4.

The virus is still spreading in the state, which has one of the higher Rt values in the country. Rt shows how rapidly the virus will spread. Rt is the average number of people who become infected by an infectious person. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. Tennessee has a 1.04 on Saturday, according to the tracking site Rt.live.

5/29: COVID-19 case count in state surpasses 22K

  • The Tennessee Dept. of Health reported Friday that the state count for confirmed COVID-19 cases was at 22,085; including 360 deaths, 1,710 hospitalizations and 14,965 recovered.

5/28: Confirmed COVID-19 case count now at 21,679 with 356 deaths

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 21,679 as of May 28, 2020, including 356 deaths, 1,689 hospitalizations and 14,632 recovered.

5/27: COVID-19 cases climb to 21,306 with 341 new reports

  • The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday in Tennessee is 21,306 — up 1.6% — with 353 deaths, Tennessee Department of Health said.
  • Cases rose by 341. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by 10 — or 2.9% — from Tuesday, according to the Department of Health.
  • There have been 1,647 people hospitalized and 13,916 have recovered. The number of people tested is 409,630.

5/26: Memorial Day COVID-19 case count is 20,607, up 462

  • The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Memorial Day in Tennessee is 20,607 with 338 deaths from COVID-19, the Tennessee Department of Health said.
  • Cases rose by 462 – or 2.3%. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by two — 0.6% — from Sunday, according to the Department of Health.
  • There have been 1,594 people hospitalized and 13,073 have recovered. The number of people tested is 396,219.

5/25: TDH reports 20,607 COVID-19 cases in the state

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 20,607 as of May 25, 2020, including 338 deaths, 1,594 hospitalizations and 13,073 recovered.

5/24: TDH reports more than 20,000 COVID-19 cases in the state

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 20,145 as of May 24, 2020, including 336 deaths, 1,583 hospitalizations and 12,837 recovered.

5/23: Department of Health reports 19,789 cases, 329 deaths

  • The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday in Tennessee is 19,789, the Tennessee Department of Health said. Some 329 people have died.
  • Cases rose by 395 – or 2%. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by 14 — 4.4% — from Friday, according to the Department of Health.
  • There have been 1,573 people hospitalized and 12,745 have recovered. The number of people tested is 373,578.

5/22: COVID-19 cases rise to 19,394 with 315 deaths in the state

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 19,394 as of May 22, 2020 including 315 deaths, 1,560 hospitalizations and 12,566 recovered.

5/21: COVID-19 cases rise to 18,961 with 313 deaths

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 18,961 as of May 21, 2020, including 313 deaths, 1,539 hospitalizations and 12,191 recovered.

5/21: More than 28,000 new unemployment claims filed last week in Tennessee

  • More than 532,000 new unemployment claims have been filed in Tennessee since mid-March, according to data released Thursday morning by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce.
  • The department reported the number of new claims for the week ending May 16 was 28,692.
  • While that was down slightly from the 29,308 new claims the previous week, the numbers were still up from nine weeks ago when approximately 2,702 claims were made for the week ending March 14.

READ MORE: 28K+ new unemployment claims filed last week in Tennessee

5/21: State program to provide free child care for essential workers expanded

  • The Tennessee Department of Human Services is expanding support for essential workers who are serving their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All categories of essential workers identified in Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 22 are eligible for the COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program.
  • This change makes the program available to essential workers in the financial, religious, utility
    and hotel industries among others, according to a news release from the state.
  • Existing applicants who fit into one of the expanded categories do not need to apply again, even if they were previously denied or their application is still in process, the news release said.
  • The Tennessee Department of Human Services is reviewing and reevaluating those previously submitted applications under the expanded employment categories.
  • Additionally, the program has been expanded to provide payment assistance until mid-August
    2020 to help essential employees stay on the job through the summer, according to the news release.

READ MORE: TN program to provide free child care for essential workers expanded

5/20: COVID-19 cases rise to 18,532 with 309 deaths

  • The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday in Tennessee is 18,532, the Tennessee Department of Health said. Some 309 people have died.
  • Cases rose by just 154 — or 0.8%. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by four from Tuesday — or 1.3%, according to the Department of Health.
  • There have been 1,515people hospitalized and 11,783 have recovered. The number of people tested is 354,013.
  • On Tuesday, Hancock County became the last of Tennessee’s 95 counties to report a confirmed case of coronavirus.

5/19: 18,378 cases and 10,969 have recovered

  • The number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee grew to 18,378 on Tuesday with 305 deaths, the Tennessee Department of Health said.
  • The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by four from Monday — or 1.3%, according to the state Health Department. Cases rose by 367 — or 2%.
  • There have been 1,498 people hospitalized and 10,969 have recovered. The number of people tested is 346,123.

5/18: Safely using Knoxville’s greenways and trails

  • Knoxville’s city parks and greenways are open for passive use. The Knoxville Track Club is asking people to be extra cautious while out in the public space.
  • This by practicing social distancing, even if it means stepping off the trail. The club reminding you that you should stay on the right of the trail unless you’re passing someone and to vocalize that you’re passing, stay aware, and be sure to wear a face covering.

5/18: Virus deaths reach 301 with 18,011 confirmed cases

  • The death count for coronavirus in Tennessee is at 301 with 18,011 confirmed cases of the virus, the Tennessee Department of Health said Monday.
  • The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by three — or 1%, according to the state Health Department. Cases rose from Sunday by 623 — or 3.6%.
  • There have been 1,489 people hospitalized and 9,886 have recovered. The number of people tested is 337,428.
  • In a development over the weekend, Loudon County mayor Buddy Bradshaw says 57 employees at Monterey Mushroom did test positive for COVID-19.
  • Meanwhile in Knox County, Health Director Dr. Martha Buchanan said the county’s cases seem to be on a downward trend. Buchanan said she and her staff will meet later Monday to discuss what phase two of the Knoxville-Knox County reopening plan will look like as the number of active COVID-19 cases gradually falls.

5/17: Tests top 325,000 with 17,388 confirmed cases

  • Testing for coronavirus in Tennessee hit 325,280 on Sunday with the state reporting 17,388 confirmed cases.
  • Cases rose from Saturday by 100 — or just 0.6%, according to the statistics released Sunday by the Tennessee Department of Health. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by three — or 1%, the department said.
  • There have been 1,482 people hospitalized and 9,652 have recovered.
  • Testing was being held at number of public housing communities across the state this weekend.

5/16: State case count is 17,288 with 295 deaths

  • Tennessee has had 17,288 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 295 people have died.
  • Cases rose from Friday by 318 — or 1.9%, according to the statistics released Saturday by the Tennessee Department of Health. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by five — or 1.7%, the department said.
  • There have been 1,474 people hospitalized and 9,579 have recovered. Tests for COVID-19 in Tennessee have reached 320,201.

5/16: Second Harvest Food Bank hosts drive-thru for Knoxville/Knox County residents in need

  • Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee is hosting a drive-thru pantry at Cherokee Health Systems from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for Knoxville/Knox County residents in need of fresh/healthy food.
    • Address: 2018 Western Avenue, Knoxville.

5/15: Dollywood to announce reopening plans ‘soon’ after state says guidance for Large Attraction sites forthcoming

  • With amusement parks on the list of the state’s upcoming Large Attractions guidance plans, Dollywood officials said Friday they will soon announce their plans.
  • Dollywood had voluntarily closed in March to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The city of Pigeon Forge had issued a local Safer-At-Home order March 23.
  • In April, the theme park announced employee furloughs due to the extended closure. The company also announced the extension of 2020 Season pass tickets into 2021.

RELATED: Dollywood to announce reopening plans ‘soon’

5/15: State announces looser rules coming for restaurants, retail stores and larger attractions

  • The Tennessee Economic Recovery Group said Friday it will lift capacity restrictions on restaurants and retail stores on May 22 and will issue guidelines for larger, non-contact attractions on or after May 22.
  • New Tennessee Pledge guidelines will be released early next week, according to a state news release.
  • Six counties – Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Sullivan – may continue to follow individual, county-specific reopening plans created in consultation with State and local health departments.

5/15: State confirms 16,970 COVID-19 cases with 290 deaths

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 16,970 as of May 14, 2020, including 290 deaths, 1,454 hospitalizations and 9,280 recovered.
(Image via Anakeesta Facebook page)

5/14: Anakeesta sets tentative reopening date

5/14: State reports 16,699 COVID-19 cases with 287 deaths

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 16,699 as of May 14, 2020, including 287 deaths, 1,435 hospitalizations and 8,881 recovered.

5/13: KaTom donates hand sanitizer for first responders

  • A local restaurant supply company is making a large donation to Knoxville and Knox County on Tuesday.
  • KaTom delivered 100 gallons of liquid hand sanitizer to the city-county building, which will be distributed to the sheriff’s office, police and fire departments, as well as emergency responders in Knoxville.
  • The company has been working with a local distillery to produce and bottle the sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic and tells us they felt the need to give back to local first responders; making sure they have access to this product that’s now in high demand.

5/13: State reports 16,370 COVID-19 cases with 8,624 recoveries

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 16,370 as of May 13, 2020, including 273 deaths, 1,388 hospitalizations and 8,624 recovered.

5/12: State reports more than 16,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 16,111 as of May 12, 2020, including 265 deaths, 1,363 hospitalizations and 8,336 recovered.
  • The jump in numbers reflects the increased testing efforts across the state; with 567 new cases since Monday’s report.

5/11: Memorial Day ceremony canceled in Anderson County

  • Anderson County canceled its annual Memorial Day Ceremony due to coronavirus fears.
  • Although the in-person event has been canceled, there will be a prerecorded Memorial Day program, and it will air on local channel 95-Anderson County TV at 10 a.m.

5/11: State reports 15,544 cases and 251 deaths

5/10: 217 new cases of COVID-19 and a total of 243 have died

  • Tennessee is reporting 14,985 total cases of the coronavirus and 243 deaths on Sunday.
  • Cases rose from Saturday by 217 — or just 1.5%, the Tennessee Department of Health reported. The number of deaths from the coronavirus was up by one, the department said.
  • There have been 1,325 people hospitalized and 7,528 have recovered. The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the state is 261,869.
  • Pickett County reported its first case leaving on Hancock as the only Tennessee county without a confirmed case of coronavirus.

5/9: COVID-19 cases rise 2.4% to 14,768 on Saturday

5/9: 47 active Knox County cases, 278 total

  • The Knox County Health Department reported six new cases on Saturday, bringing the total case number to 278.
  • Knox County reported 47 active cases on Saturday, down from 55 on Friday.

5/8: 14,441 cases, 241 deaths confirmed by state on Friday

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 14,441 as of May 8, 2020, including 241 deaths, 1,299 hospitalizations and 7,011 recovered.

5/7: 14,096 cases, 237 deaths as of Thursday

  • As Tennessee’s economy is reopened, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases climbs to 14,096 with 237 deaths. The number of COVID-19 cases was up by 158 from Wednesday’s count.
  • It was just over two months ago — on March 5 — that the first case of coronavirus was reported in Tennessee.
  • There have been 1,266 people hospitalized and 6,783 have recovered. The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the state is 236,328.

5/6: State COVID-19 cases rise to 13,938

  • The confirmed COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 13,938 as of May 6, 2020, including 239 deaths, 1,221 hospitalizations and 6,564 recovered.

5/6: University of Tennessee to reopen all campuses for fall semester

  • When the fall semester begins all students in the University of Tennessee system will be back on campus.
  • UT President Randy Boyd said he and the rest of the system’s task force, led by Dr. Jon McCullers, professor and chair of infectious disease at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis, “will do everything possible” to protect the health of students, faculty and staff.
  • “We will continually monitor the local and state health data and policies and be prepared to adjust and communicate our plans when needed,” Boyd said.

MORE: University of Tennessee reopening all campuses for fall semester

5/6: 43 active cases, 257 total COVID-19 cases in Knox County; free masks for community

  • The Knox County Health Department reported five new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total case number to 257. Knox County reported 43 active cases on Wednesday, up from 38 on Tuesday. The total number of recovered cases remained at 209 for the second straight day.
  • Of the 257 cases, 35 of them have resulted in hospitalization at any point during the illness.
  • The Knox County Health Department received a shipment of the masks and is giving them out to those who need them on a first-come, first-served basis. The department has about 19,000 masks to give; they may get more in the future.
  • If you would like a mask you can visit the KCHD main office, 140 Dameron Ave., during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The black knit masks will be given out one per person and you must be present to receive one. You do not have to be tested to receive a mask.
  • If you cannot make it to the Health Department, the CDC has instructions on how to make a mask.
  • “Face coverings don’t have to be anything special,” Buchanan said. “A bandana works.”

5/5: Governor signs Executive Order No. 33 allowing close-contact businesses to reopen Wednesday

  • Businesses allowed to reopen Wednesday outside of Knox County (in 89 of the state’s 95 counties) include tattoo shops, tanning salons, spas, barber shops and hair salons.
  • Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order on Tuesday that updated a previous order.
  • Executive Order No. 33 amends order 30 stating all close contacts employers and businesses are expected to operate in accordance with guidelines issued by the state. The list of guidelines encourages employees and customers to wear face masks, prohibits the use of waiting areas and more.

READ | Executive Order No. 33

5/5: COVID-19 cases hit 13,624

  • Coronavirus cases in Tennessee have hit 13,624, the Tennessee Department of Health said Tuesday.
  • Deaths are up by seven — or 3.2% — to 226.
  • There have been 1,156 people hospitalized and 6,356 have recovered. The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the state is 218,796.
  • Last week coronavirus cases in Tennessee grew by 36%.
  • The Knox County Health Department has published a reopening plan and quick reference guides.

5/4: Blount Memorial now testing all inpatients for COVID-19

  • Blount Memorial Hospital is now testing for COVID-19 for every inpatient that’s admitted to the hospital, regardless of symptoms.
  • This in the hopes of further preventing the spread of the coronavirus, while diagnosing individuals who may have the virus, but who are asymptomatic.
  • The hospital will also be testing any patient who will be entering a nursing facility after they’re released from the hospital to further protect more vulnerable populations.

5/4: Knox County Clerk’s Office reopening Monday

  • The Knox County Courthouse Clerk’s Office along with the Cedar Bluff, Halls, and East Satellite campuses opening Monday.
  • The four offices opening with controlled access, contagion barriers are going up and visitors to the buildings are asked to wear masks and gloves.
  • Applicants will be asked to enter the service area one at a time.

5/4: More businesses open this week as cases reach 13,502

5/4: State weekend testing numbers released

  • Gov. Bill Lee announced more than 23,000 Tennesseans have received a free COVID-19 test at 67 drive-thru sites over the past three weekends, as part of the state Unified-Command Group’s efforts to increase access to testing for all Tennesseans.
  • Soldiers and airmen from the Tennessee National Guard supported Tennessee Department of Health personnel at 16 sites across the state May 2 and 3 where 5,153 Tennesseans received a free COVID-19 test. Eight sites were operated on Saturday with 2,733 individuals tested and another eight sites on Sunday with 2,420 individuals tested.
  • Two sites locally in Blount and Campbell counties tested 465 and 397 people, respectively.

5/3: No sign of a let-up in spread of COVID-19; 516 new cases

  • The number of people in Tennessee who tested positive for COVID-19 reached 13,177 on Sunday and the death toll is 210, the Tennessee Department of Health reported Sunday.
  • The one-day increase in cases Sunday was 516, up 4.1%. Deaths were up by just one.

5/3: 248 total Knox County cases with 38 of them active

5/3: TN banks provide nearly $9B to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program

  • Tennessee Bankers Association reports they’ve provided almost $9 billion to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program; assisting more than 75,000 small businesses and self-employed individuals since April 3.
  • The Small Business Administration says during the second round of funding for the PPP, which started April 27, banks in Tennessee have processed nearly 41,000 loan applications, and received loan approvals totaling $2,408,173,223. And nationwide, there’s still $135 billion in the PPP fund.

5/2: Cases top 12,600 with 209 deaths; tests approaching 200,000 in the state

5/2: 35 active Knox County cases

5/1: Knox County Sheriff’s Office furloughs 24 court employees

  • Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler has furloughed 24 court employees. One support clerk and 23 bailiffs will begin their furloughs May 9. All employees will be called back once courts return to session.

5/1: KUB waiving some late fees

  • Knoxville Utility Board is waiving some late fees amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a release the utility provider said it has suspended disconnections for nonpayment and is waiving late fees that have been accumulated since March 16. Customers must contact KUB with billing concerns to receive the fee wavier.
  • You can also find more information on how KUB can help customers by visiting www.kub.org/assistance.

5/1: State COVID-19 case count surpasses 11,000 with more than 200 deaths

  • The COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 11,891 as of May 1, 2020, including 204 deaths, 1,113 hospitalizations and 5,546 recovered.

5/1: Governor announces mass testing to begin for all state prisons

  • On Friday, Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group announced a mass COVID-19 testing initiative that will begin next week for all Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) staff and the inmates in their care.
  • TDOC confirmed Friday more than 1,246 COVID-19 positive cases, out of 2,450 total tests, among staff and inmates at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Trousdale County, following a targeted testing event at the facility that began on April 28.

MORE: COVID-19 Unified Command Group to launch mass testing strategy of TN prison population, staff

5/1: Knoxville/Knox County phased reopening plan to begin May 1

  • Members of the Knoxville/Knox County Joint Task Force this week released a phased reopening plan of local businesses.
  • Knox County and the city of Knoxville will begin a gradual, phased-in reopening of businesses on Friday, May 1. Phase one of the three-part plan will allow most businesses to open with strict social distancing guidelines in place. Each phase will last a minimum of 28 days. 
  • The list of businesses that can begin the phased reopening on May 1 includes but is not limited to: Daycares, Restaurants, Salons, Spas, Retail stores, Gyms and Places of worship.
  • The plan highlights the fact that the community will not immediately return to a pre-pandemic “normal” but instead outlines a three-phase approach to reopening.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Knoxville/Knox County phased reopening plan to begin May 1

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

WATE 6 Storm Weather School

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter