NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – As we head into pandemic Mother’s Day weekend, Tennessee is reporting 247 COVID-19 deaths and 14,441 total cases of the coronavirus. Everything seems different, even the weather with frost in the forecast.

Deaths rose from Thursday by four — or 1.7%, the Tennessee Department of Health reported. The number of COVID-19 cases was up by 345 — or 2.4%, the department said.

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There have been 1,299 people hospitalized and 7,011 have recovered. The number of people tested for COVID-19 in the state is 243,578.

The big story Friday has been the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. jobless rate hit 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, as 20.5 million jobs vanished in the worst monthly loss on record.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced its phased reopening plan, which begins Saturday. The park said Newfound Gap, Little River, Cherokee Orchard, Laurel Creek, Cades Cove Loop, Lakeview Drive, and Deep Creek roads will be opened at 8 a.m. Saturday but some trailheads and picnic pavilions will be closed along the routes. Restrooms and picnic areas along the roads will be open, however.

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Blount Memorial Hospital said it will resume inpatient surgical procedures on Monday in accordance with reopening criteria outlined by Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee Hospital Association. The plan for resumption of elective outpatient and one-night stay surgeries at hospitals in Knoxville was announced during the Friday Health Department briefing.

Voting by absentee ballot is expected to be more popular this year due to concerns about getting infected while voting. Tennessee has not changed its absentee voting regulations, but those over 60 and others can apply for an absentee ballot beginning today (Friday, May 8).

The Knox County Schools are working through the reaction to its plans have high school graduations this summer. Not everyone was happy with an in-person graduation plan that doesn’t include family and friends. Superintendent Bob Thomas said he understands the frustrations of parents.

Bowling anyone? Bowling alleys, mini-golf courses and similar businesses could open Friday in the state’s 89 smaller counites. The state put out detailed guidance to help those businesses keep customers and employees safe.

With children at home and what school will look like this fall still fuzzy, more families are exploring the option of homeschooling.

Did you know? The names and addresses of Tennesseans who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being provided to first responders, law enforcement and paramedics under a state agreement deemed necessary to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.