TENNESSEE (WATE) — As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to climb and most Tennessee schools are back in session, federal, state and local officials are issuing updated responses and directives on an almost daily basis.

Reports indicate 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. The first case in Tennessee was reported confirmed by state health officials in Williamson County on March 5.

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 September, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 154,933 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases as of August 31, 2020 including 1,754 deaths, 6,878 hospitalizations and 116,864 recovered.

9/30: TDH reports 196,139 cumulative COVID-19 cases

9/29: Knox County Schools, University of Tennessee releases update to COVID-19 cases

9/29: TN Dept. of Health reports 879 new COVID-19 cases along with 31 new deaths

9/28: State health department reports over 193K total cases of COVID-19, while recoveries have reached over 176K

9/27: State sees over 2,000 increase in cases as recoveries reach over 175K

9/26: State surpasses 190K total cases of COVID-19 along with over 2,300 deaths

9/25: State nears 190K COVID-19 cases as total tests conducted surpasses 2.75M

9/24: State now at over 187K cases, 2,300-plus deaths, and over 171K recoveries

9/23: TN Dept. of Health reports over 1,500 new cases and over 1,800 new recoveries

9/22: State department of health reports 28 new deaths, 739 new cases & over 1,000 new recoveries

9/21: TDH reports 15 new deaths and 830 recoveries along with 895 new cases

9/20: TDH reports over 2,075 new cases, with 862 recoveries

9/19: TDH reports over 181K cases and over 2,200 deaths

9/18: TDH reports over 2,300 new cases, 32 new deaths

9/17: TDH reports over 1,000 new cases, 13 new deaths

9/16: TDH reports 177K confirmed, probable COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 177,087 as of September 16, 2020 including 2,151 deaths, 791 current hospitalizations and 160,202 recovered.

9/15: 30 more deaths in state’s COVID-19 report for Tuesday

The state reports 957 new cases of COVID-19 along with 30 new deaths on Tuesday.

9/14: Greene County extends mask mandate

The mayor of Greene County has extended a mask mandate through Sept. 30.

The mandate had been set to expire today, after its first extension. The mandate requires people to wear face coverings in areas where prolonged close contact is likely and social distancing is not possible.

9/14: State Health Department reports over 2,000 new cases along with 19 new deaths

The Tennessee Department of Health reports 2,450 new cases of COVID-19 along with 19 new deaths in the state.

The state also reports 943 new inactive/recovered cases, and 14 less hospitalizations that bring the current total to 703.

9/13: Total COVID-19 cases reach 171,824 with 933 new cases reported Sunday

Fourteen new coronavirus-related deaths reported in Tennessee on Sunday for a total of 2,078, a 0.68% increase, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

Tennessee also reported 933 new coronavirus cases, a 0.55% increase. The cumulative number of cases is 171,824, the Tennessee Department of Health reported.

9/12: COVID-19 deaths hit 2,064 with 39 new ones reported Saturday

There are 39 new coronavirus-related deaths reported in Tennessee on Saturday for a total of 2,064, a 1.93% increase, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

Knox County alone reported three new deaths on Saturday. Since Sunday, Tennessee has reported 199 COVID-19 related deaths, a 10.67% increase and an average of 33 a day.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington updated deaths projections on Friday. The widely followed model now estimated 6,032 deaths from COVID-19 in Tennessee by Jan. 1. It projects over 415,000 in the United States by the same date.

Tennessee also reported 1,032 new coronavirus cases, a 0.61% increase. The cumulative number of cases is 170,891, the Tennessee Department of Health reported.

9/11: Market Square bars announce reopening date

Bernadette and Scott West, owners of several Knoxville bars, are beginning their second phase of reopening properties. Scruffy City Hall and The Lost Tavern in Market Square will open at 5 p.m. Sept. 17. The West say they made their decision with an abundance of caution and after feeling they could safely reopen with their establishments’ open-air seating.

9/11: TDH reports nearly 170K confirmed + probable COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 169,859 as of September 11, 2020 including 2,025 deaths, 808 current hospitalizations and 152,674 recovered.

9/10: TDH reports 168K confirmed + probable COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 168,237 as of September 10, 2020 including 1,988 deaths, 848 current hospitalizations and 151,202 inactive/recovered.

9/9: TDH reports more than 166K confirmed + probable COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 166,587 as of September 9, 2020 including 1,931 deaths, 862 current hospitalizations and 149,698 inactive/recovered.

9/8: TDH reports more than 165K confirmed, probable cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 165,754 as of September 8, 2020 including 1,896 deaths, 844 current hospitalizations and 148,165 inactive/recovered.

9/7: TDH reports 165,109 confirmed COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 165,109 as of September 7, 2020 including 1,869 deaths, 826 current hospitalizations and 146,213 inactive/recovered.

9/6: TDH reports 159,795 confirmed COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 164,126 as of September 6, 2020 including 1,865 deaths, 819 current hospitalizations and 145,359 inactive/recovered.

9/5: TDH reports 158K confirmed COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 162,362 as of September 5, 2020 including 1,862 deaths, 846 current hospitalizations and 144,383 inactive/recovered.

9/4: TDH reports more than 160K confirmed + probable cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 160,597 as of September 4, 2020 including 1,837 deaths, 865 current hospitalizations and 143,156 inactive/recovered.

9/3: Wests begin their bars’ reopening plan with Tommy Trent’s

  • Tommy Trent’s Sports Bar downtown is opening tonight, six months after closing its doors due to COVID-19. The bar is the first business owned by Scott and Bernadette West to reopen since the pandemic began.
  • The Wests also own The Lost Tavern, Preservation Pub and Scruffy City Hall in Market Square. They are staggering the openings of their bars. Tommy Trent’s will be open Thursdays through Sundays. The Lost Tavern is set to open Sept. 17.

9/3: TDH reports more than 155K confirmed cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 159,546 as of September 3, 2020 including 1,815 deaths, 897 current hospitalizations and 141,568 inactive/recovered.

9/2: AMC opening 140 more theaters by Friday

AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain is reopening 140 more theaters by Friday. Barring anything unforeseen, the company will have 70% of its theaters, 420, open this Labor Day weekend. The AMC theater on Millertown Pike in Knoxville is set to reopen Thursday.

9/2: TDH reports nearly 154K positive COVID-19 cases

  • The total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 157,831 (confirmed + probable) as of September 2, 2020 including 1,797 deaths, 7,061 hospitalizations and 120,675 recovered.

9/1: TN Dept. of Health reports over 152K cases & 1,781 deaths to start September

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday, September 1.

9/1: KCHD – 6 months of COVID-19

Today, Sept. 1, marks the sixth month of the coronavirus pandemic locally. Buchanan was asked what six months from now could look like. She said changes back to normal would be gradual and that is ultimately up to whether there is a vaccine available.

“What it looks like in six months depends on so many different things,” Buchanan said. “If we have a vaccine, it will probably look a little bit different; it won’t look a whole lot different. … We won’t be able to vaccine everyone immediately.”

Most likely recommendations of social distancing, hand washing, and mask usage would still be in place since two doses of vaccine and a threshold of “herd immunity” would be required to return to pre-COVID-19 life, Buchanan said.

9/1: KCHD – COVID-19 deaths, death certificates explained

Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, addressed the confusion surrounding COVID-19 deaths and death certificates following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report released two weeks ago.

Buchanan reiterated the majority of coronavirus deaths are among the elderly and those with co-validities, or preexisting conditions, and that many East Tennesseans have a preexisting condition like obesity, cancer or diabetes.

“We know this is confusing but the bottom line is people are dying from this virus either directly or as a significantly contributing factor. Those with preexisting conditions may be more susceptible to complications and have several conditions listed on a death certificate. That does not take away from the fact that if they didn’t contract COVID-19, they likely would still be here today.”

Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department

The Tennessee Department of Health allows only the attending physician or, in some cases, the medical examiner determine the cause of death put on the death certificate.

“In Tennessee, the state medical examiner’s office reviews all COVID-19-associated deaths,” Buchanan said. “Deaths are only counted as COVID-19 related if the virus is found to be a significant contributing factor to the death. If someone tests positive then sadly dies in an accident completely unrelated to COVID-19, they would not be counted in the death count for COVID-19.”

There can also be additional conditions that contribute to the death created by the virus. Buchanan offered the example of respiratory failure associated with COVID-19.

“If someone were to die, respiratory failure would also be listed on a death certificate as well as COVID-19. The individual may have died from respiratory failure but it was COVID-19 that was the underlying cause of death.”