Coronavirus in Tennessee: State opening economy as cases of COVID-19 grow

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Cases of coronavirus in Tennessee were up 5% in one day – or 478 cases – to 9,667 on Sunday as the state moves forward with reopening its economy.

Deaths were up 2% — or 3 people – to 181, according to figures released by the Tennessee Department of Health. Deaths are mainly happening to people who get COVID-19 and are 61 years old or older. The 61 and older group accounts for 152 of the 181 deaths, or 84%.

Men are nearly 61% of the deaths. Black or African Americans make up about 17% of the state’s population, but 31.5% of the COVID-19 deaths.

There have been 828 hospitalizations due to coronavirus and 4,527 have recovered from the virus. Tennessee has tested 147,475 people.

An increase in cases has been expected because of increased testing efforts by both the state Department of Health and county health departments.

Davidson and Shelby counties have had more than 2,200 cases each.

Gov. Bill Lee announced Friday more details about his plan to reopen the state, starting with the 89 non-metro counties. Most state parks opened for day-use on Friday. His safer-at-home order expires Thursday.

The states metro counties are taking a slower approach to reopening. Knox County and Knoxville are set to announce plans on Monday

The governor’s plan has faced some pushback. “The governor has adopted a laissez-faire approach to re-opening: no enforcement, no detailed requirements, and limited industry-specific direction, beyond restaurants and retail,” state Sen. Jeff Yarbro, a Nashville Democrat, said Friday.

“We want to see things get back to normal as much as you do,” Dr. Aaron Milstone, a pulmonologist and organizer of a group of health care workers that has urged for a stay-at-home order, said in a news release. “Many of us doctors are small business owners ourselves; many of us have spouses, family and friends hurting because they have lost their job or seen their work hours cut.

“But, we cannot address the economic crisis without first solving the health crisis that created it. To solve this crisis we need Gov. Lee, our members of Congress and Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander to do their jobs so that we can do ours.”

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Friday issued an order to extend the judicial state of emergency until May 31.

The order allows local judicial districts to develop a strategy to begin holding more in-person court proceedings in their districts.

Jury trials will remain suspended until July 3, unless there are extraordinary circumstances.

Lee and state Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey will be on a statewide televised town hall on Thursday that will air at 7:30 p.m. on WATE-TV and WATE.com

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