TENNESSEE (WATE) — As the novel coronavirus ramps 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: April 2020
MORE | Coronavirus information page
MORE | Tennessee Department of Health coronavirus information
3/4: Gov. Lee announces coronavirus task force formation
- On Wednesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced the formation of the state’s “Coronavirus Task Force” to develop public health solutions for the state as the virus is reportedly spreading.
- There have been COVID-19 cases confirmed in neighboring states Georgia and North Carolina within the last week.
- The task force will be aid in enhancing Tennessee’s coordinated efforts for prevention, identification and treatment of potential COVID-19 coronavirus cases. A news release stated Wednesday the task force will develop and execute strong precautionary measures, resource allocation, and emergency response plans should the need arise in Tennessee.
3/5: First case of coronavirus confirmed in Tennessee (Williamson County)
- Tennessee Governor Bill Lee confirmed the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the state at a press conference Thursday morning.
- The impacted patient is an adult man from Williamson County who is currently isolated at home with mild symptoms. He traveled out of state recently, but not out of the country, and returned four or five days ago.
3/8: Second coronavirus case confirmed in Tennessee (Shelby County)
- Officials in Memphis and Shelby County on Sunday morning confirmed the area’s first case of novel coronavirus.
- An official said the adult patient was being treated at Baptist Hospital and was in good condition. The patient had traveled outside the state, but not outside the country.
- Dr. Alisa Haushalter, director of the Shelby County Health Department, said the tests came back positive from the state’s lab Saturday and the results will be forwarded to the CDC.
- People who came in contact with the patient are being identified and will be quarantined and monitored daily for 14 days, she said.
3/8: Third coronavirus case confirmed in Tennessee (Davidson County)
- Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Metro health leaders confirmed the first presumptive case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Davidson County at a press conference Sunday morning.
- Health leaders say the patient is a Nashville resident and an adult female. The Metropolitan Board of Health says the woman is self-isolated at home and the case is not considered travel related. The woman does not have a child enrolled in Metro Nashville Public Schools.
- Mayor Cooper says no major events are canceled. City leaders are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and the Tennessee Department of Health.
3/9: Fourth coronavirus case confirmed in Tennessee (second in Davidson County)
- The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed Monday morning one additional case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Middle Tennessee, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to four.
The patient is an adult female in Middle Tennessee.
3/9 Tennessee’s Coronavirus Task Force holds roundtable meeting at State Capitol
- 49 tested for the coronavirus; four of which tested positive
- Testing capacity has doubled in the state
- Everyone who has tested positive has been “appropriately isolated”
3/10: Two more cases of coronavirus confirmed in Tennessee; total now is six
- The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed two additional cases of COVID-19 in Middle Tennessee, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to six.
- They are men in Middle Tennessee. The counties the men live in is not disclosed under a new state policy.
3/10: Seventh case of the coronavirus confirmed in Tennessee
- The Tennessee Department of Health confirms the seventh case of COVID-19 around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
- The health department did not say where in the state the case was located.
3/10: Tennessee Department of Health releases a county-by-county breakdown of confirmed cases
- The Tennessee Department of Health released a county breakdown of the seven confirmed cases of the coronavirus Tuesday evening.
- Of the seven, four are in Williamson County.
- Shelby, Davidson, and Sullivan counties each have one confirmed case.
- “TDH will release counties of residence for all confirmed cases, but will not include further identifying factors like age or gender as we balance transparency with our obligation to lawfully protect patient privacy,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said. “While the department’s standard protocol for outbreaks is to announce information by region, we understand COVID-19 is an evolving situation presenting unique concerns for our communities.”
3/11: Big Ears festival canceled due to coronavirus concerns
- Big Ears, the nationally acclaimed eclectic festival held in multiple venues in downtown Knoxville has been canceled amid coronavirus concerns.
- Festival officials confirmed the cancellation Wednesday afternoon. The World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared the virus crisis a pandemic.
- Earlier this week, officials had said they were “monitoring the situation closely,” and “will make prudent and thoughtful decisions as the situation develops.”
3/11: Metro Public Health Department announces one new case of coronavirus in Nashville
- Metro Public Health Department officials were notified by the Tennessee Department of Health Wednesday of one new presumptive case of coronavirus COVID-19 in Nashville-Davidson County.
- According to reports, there are now two presumptive COVID-19 cases in the county, the first case having been announced March 8.
- This is in addition to an earlier COVID-19 case out of Davidson County.
- Officials say the presumptive case is an adult male, has had mild symptoms, and remains isolated at home. Health Department officials are investigating the source of exposure and will be contacting those who are identified as close contacts.
3/11: TN Dept. of Health announces nine total cases of coronavirus in the state
- The health department saying that the COVID-19 case county for Tennessee is now at nine.
- One new case in both Davidson and Williamson County.
- For more information go to https://t.co/Pwof6IANuV?amp=1.
3/11: CDC providing $10 million in funding to Tennessee
- The state Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday afternoon that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $10 million in funding to Tennessee to support response efforts against COVID-19 (coronavirus).
3/11: UT suspending all suspending all in-person classes beginning March 23
- The University of Tennessee announced Wednesday that all in-person classes will be temporarily suspended beginning March 23.
- University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd — in consultation with chancellors at UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin and the UT Health Science Center—has announced that all in-person classes beginning March 23 will be temporarily suspended until further notice as a proactive measure in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- UT Chattanooga will suspend in-person classes until March 30, while UT Knoxville and UT Martin will suspend in-person classes until April 3.
3/11: Vanderbilt cancels in-person classes for remainder of semester
- Vanderbilt University has canceled all in-person classes for the rest of the semester and all undergraduate students living on campus must move out by Sunday.
- Online classes and alternative learning courses will launch Monday for all students.
3/11: MTSU extends spring break for students
- Middle Tennessee State University is extending spring break for students by one week through Sunday, March 22 as a precaution for COVID-19 coronavirus.
- As of Wednesday, MTSU has no confirmed cases of coronavirus on campus. Faculty will be given time to prepare remote instructional delivery of current on-ground classes beginning Monday, March 23. Remote delivery of these classes will continue until further notice.
3/12: Tennessee governor declares emergency over coronavirus
- Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency Thursday to help the state address the spread of the new coronavirus.
- The emergency declaration frees up additional funds and relaxes rules surrounding assistance from state agencies to affected communities.
- Lee made the announcement after saying earlier this week he did not believe an emergency declaration was necessary. Lee said Thursday that the situation had changed and the amount of COVID-19 case clusters had increased.
3/12: Southeastern Conference cancels men’s basketball tournament due to coronavirus concerns
- Just a little more than an hour before the University of Tennessee was scheduled to take the floor in the Southeastern Conference second round, the tournament was canceled by the league’s office as concerns continue over the coronavirus pandemic.
- The SEC was joined quickly by the American Athletic, Athletic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, CUSA and PAC-12 conferences in canceling their postseason conferences.
3/12: Knox St. Patrick’s Parade and Cel-O’bragh-tion, Knox Shamrock Fest canceled over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns
- Organizers announced Thursday that the Knoxville St. Patrick’s Day and Cel-O’bragh-tion has been canceled.
- Knox Shamrock Fest organizers said in a statement Thursday afternoon the annual event is being canceled this weekend because of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s declaration of a state of emergency and “rapidly increasing public health and safety concerns.”
3/12: First case of coronavirus confirmed in Knox County
- The state health department said Thursday that a coronavirus case had been confirmed in Knox County.
- The number of confirmed cases in the state was also updated to 18 as of Thursday: 8 in Williamson County, 6 in Davidson County, 2 in Shelby County, 1 in Sullivan County and 1 in Knox County.
3/12: Knox County Schools close early before spring break citing ‘public health developments’
- Knox County Schools said Thursday that it was closing schools on Friday, March 13, “due to the latest public health developments” and to get an early start on cleaning since spring break is next week.
- Spring break for KCS is March 16-20.
3/12: Pellissippi State Community College extends spring break, offers online classes amid coronavirus concerns
- Officials with Pellissippi State Community College said Thursday evening that the college will extend spring break and offer online classes due to coronavirus concerns.
- Spring break for students will be extended through March 29. Online classes will be offered March 30 – April 12.
3/12: Knoxville Ice Bears: SPHL suspends season due to coronavirus concerns
- The Knoxville Ice Bears said Thursday night the Southern Professional Hockey League suspended the 2019-2020 season effective immediately.
- SPHL said the season suspension was due to concerns for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
3/12: TSSAA tournaments suspended due to coronavirus concerns
- The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has suspended the remainder of the girls’ state tournament and next week’s boys’ state tournament due to coronavirus concerns.
3/12: NRA 149th annual meeting canceled amid coronavirus outbreak
- The National Rifle Association confirms the cancelation of its 149th annual meeting due to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).
- According to officials, the meeting was set for April 16th-19th in Nashville. However after much consideration amid the coronavirus pandemic, it will be rescheduled.
3/13: Walters State transitions classess online
- Walters State Community College will transition all face-to-face classes to online instruction effective Monday, March 16. All campuses will be closed March 16-22. A decision on when to reopen campuses will be made on Thursday, March 19.
- This change is in response to the evolving coronavirus situation.
- All on-campus events scheduled for the week of March 16-22 are canceled. This includes events at the Great Smoky Mountains Expo Center in White Pine.
3/13: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon postponed; supporting events canceled
- Covenant Health and the Knoxville Track Club have made the decision to postpone the 2020 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. All races and supporting events are canceled for the weekend of March 28-29.
- Race officials said they must put the health and well-being of the community first and limit the potential spread of COVID-19.
- Organizers aim to reschedule the 2020 race but do not yet know if that is possible. All registered participants will be emailed details on plans as they develop, which may include instructions on how to defer registration to a rescheduled or future race event.
3/13: Masters, first major golf tournament of the year, postponed
- The Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals are being postponed. Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred S. Ridley said “the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta (Georgia) community led us to this decision.”
- The golf club hopes to host the Masters Tournament and our amateur events at some later date. Updates also will be posted to WATE’s Masters Report and Masters.com.
3/13: Tennessee Supreme Court limiting
in-court judicial proceedings for all state courts
- The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order stating all Tennessee courts will remain open during the coronavirus outbreak, but suspending all in-person judicial proceedings through March 31. Chief Justice Jeff Bivins declared a state of emergency for the judicial branch, which follows Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order and declaration of a state of emergency on March 12 The order applies to state and local Tennessee courts, including appellate, trial, general sessions, juvenile and municipal courts.
- A substantial list of exceptions, including proceedings necessary to protect constitutional rights of criminal defendants — such as bond-related matters and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals; civil and criminal jury trials that are in progress as of March 13; proceedings relating to orders of protection; proceedings related to emergency child custody orders; Department of Children’s Services emergency matters related to child protection; proceedings related to petitions for temporary injunctive relief; proceedings related to emergency mental health orders; proceedings related to emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons; and proceedings directly related to the COVID-19 public health emergency — are included.
- Bivins may issue other exceptions to the suspension of in-person court proceedings as he deems necessary. Any permitted in-court proceedings will be limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers and necessary persons as determined by the trial judge.
3/13: Mardi Gras Gala postponed
- The Knoxville alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s annual Mardi Gras Gala has been postponed. The event supports yearly scholarships and community service projects but has been postponed; a new date is to be announced.
3/13: Carson-Newman moving all lecture courses online
- Carson-Newman University President Charles A. Fowler announced Friday that the institution would be suspending courses on Monday and Tuesday before moving all lecture courses online Wednesday, March 18. The announcement comes in response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. He indicated that there were no reported cases of the virus on campus.
- The campus community and families could find the latest updates on the Carson-Newman Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information webpage: cn.edu/covidupdates.
3/13: Cirque du Solei’s ‘OVO’ performance at Thompson-Boling Arena canceled
- In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendation of social distancing, all performances of Cirque du Soleil’s “OVO” from April 15-19, 2020 at Thompson-Boling Arena have been canceled. Ticket buyers who bought their tickets through Knoxville Tickets will be issued an automatic refund onto the credit card used to purchase their tickets. No further action is required.
- For further questions please contact Cirque du Soleil’s customer service team: 1-877-9-CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).
3/13: Dollywood suspends season opening to public for two weeks
- The Dollywood Company is delaying the opening of its Dollywood theme park to guests for the next two weeks beginning tomorrow (March 14). Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Pirates Voyage also will be closed beginning March 16. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins will remain open at this time.
- The park was open Friday for a short time for the annual season pass holders sneak peek. The company had announced on Thursday that media day activities were being postponed.
3/13: Muse Knoxville children’s museum temporarily closing both locations
- Citing the health and safety of their guests, Muse Knoxville children’s museum officials will close both their locations as a preemptive measure to protect our community from the spread of COVID-19. Effective Saturday, March 14, both locations will remain closed through Tuesday, March 31, with an anticipated reopening on Wednesday, April 1.
- There will be additional updates on the Muse Knoxville website and via social media as information becomes available.
3/13: Vols football Orange & White spring game postponed
- Tennessee’s Chevrolet Orange & White football game will not be played on April 18. The status of the game will be determined at a later date. “The past several days have been filled with uncertainty and have presented unique and challenging circumstances,” Tennessee Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said on Friday. “A growing public health crisis has led to difficult but necessary decisions. … We are all in uncharted territory, and there is no manual to guide our decision making. However, we must continue to act with abundant caution while prioritizing health and safety throughout our campuses and communities.”
- The SEC is suspending all athletics activities, including competitions, team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings through at least April 15.
- The NCAA Rowing Championships, scheduled to be hosted by the University of Tennessee and take place in Oak Ridge from May 29-31, have been canceled as well.
3/13: Grand Ole Opry pausing performances, returning to Saturday live radio broadcast
- The Grand Ole Opry, in an effort to maintain health and safety amid current COVID-19 concerns, will pause performances that include a live audience through April 4, including tonight’s performance on March 13 and tomorrow’s performance on March 14.
- The Saturday Night Grand Ole Opry Show will return to its original format as a live radio broadcast without a live audience. Fans can listen to the broadcasts at opry.com and wsmonline.com, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM.
3/13: TVA delaying campground, visitor center openings
- TVA is closing its Racoon Mountain visitor center and delaying the opening of additional visitor centers and the five campgrounds it operates near its hydroelectric dams. In addition, visitor access to all TVA office facilities is being restricted.
- Staffed visitor centers at Fontana, Norris and Kentucky dams that were originally scheduled to open on Saturday, April 4, will be delayed until the current outbreak has abated.
- TVA’s campgrounds at Douglas Dam headwater and tailwater, Cherokee Dam, Melton Hill Dam and Watauga Dam originally scheduled to open on Sunday, March 15, will delay their opening dates by at least 30 days. More information can be found at tva.gov or TVA’s social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
3/13: Governor issues guidance for gatherings, schools, employees amid coronavirus pandemic
- Gov. Bill Lee issued a set of guidelines regarding mass gatherings, schools, state employees as well as the state Capitol as additional coronavirus cases are confirmed across Tennessee. Lee said mass gatherings such as conferences or other large social events remain at the discretion of the organizer, but events of 250 people or more are “strongly discouraged” as an important step in limiting exposure to COVID-19.
- School districts have been advised to exercise discretion when canceling school. In partnership with districts, students who depend on school-provided meals will still receive this support, regardless of school closure.
- Effective immediately, state employees who have been trained and certified to work from home will do so until March 31. The Tennessee state Capitol is closed to tours and visitors through March 31. You can read the full set of guidelines here.
3/13: Tennessee Aquarium closing through March 27
- The Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX 3D Theater will close Saturday, March 14, after the first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in Hamilton County on Friday. The Aquarium and IMAX will remain closed through at least March 27. All programming and events will be canceled as a preventative measure.
- Anyone who has previously purchased tickets to visit the Aquarium will be provided the option to get refunds or use the tickets to visit at a later date.
- The Aquarium said in a press release that its team of experts will continue to provide excellent care the animals and the public can keep up with the sharks, penguins, and otters via live webcams.
3/13: Coronavirus case confirmed in Campbell County, mayor says
- The Campbell County Mayor’s Office said Friday night it was notified by the county health department that a person had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- It is the county’s first case of coronavirus.
- “This patient was tested by qualified medical professionals and is remaining in their home. The Tennessee and Campbell County Health Departments are monitoring this patient and have declared that this patient has not communicated the virus to any other person. The public need take no special action beyond good personal hygiene and cleanliness,” Mayor Morton stated in the release.
3/14: Bijou & Tennessee Theatre temporarily closing due to coronavirus concerns
- The Bijou and Tennessee Theatre announcing temporary closures due to coronavirus concerns.
- The Bijou is canceling and/or postponing events from March 13 through March 31.
- The Tennessee Theatre also announcing a temporary closure to its venue. The theater will be closed through Monday, April 6.
3/14: Number of COVID-19 cases in Davidson County rises to 13
- The Metro Public Health Department officials announced Saturday the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Nashville/Davidson County has risen to 14.
- This is an increase in three cases over the past 24 hours, according to the Metro Public Health Department.
- The department reported the age range for all confirmed cases in Nashville is from 11-50 years old. All cases are self-isolating at home with mild and manageable symptoms.
3/14: Tennessee Department of Health reports 32 total cases in the state
- The Tennessee State Health Department’s count of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee rose to 32 on Saturday after new cases in Davidson County and Campbell County were reported.
- The state health department announced the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state had been updated to 32: There are now 14 in Davidson County, 10 in Williamson County, 2 in Shelby County, 1 in Rutherford County, 1 in Hamilton County, 1 in Jefferson County, 1 in Sullivan County, 1 in Campbell County and 1 in Knox County.
3/15: Tennessee Department of Health shares tips for faith-based organizations on how they can meet the needs of their communities
- New positive cases of coronavirus were announced by the state health department in both Davidson and Williamson counties. Davidson county now has 17 positive cases and Williamson has 14.
3/16: State parks to remain open
- The state Department of Environment and Conservation said on Monday that state parks will remain open and free of charge for outdoor recreation as officials continue to monitor the impact of coronavirus.
3/16: Gov. Lee asks for all schools to close through March 31
- Gov. Bill Lee is urging every school district in Tennessee to close “as soon as practically possible,” with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020, at the latest. In a statement on Monday Lee said, “Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020, to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31. … Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”
- You can see a full list of school closures here.
3/16: Foo Fighters postpone Knoxville concert
- The Foo Fighters have postponed their 25th anniversary Van Tour concert at Thompson-Boling Arena. A new date has yet to be announced. Dates in Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, New Mexico, have already been rescheduled.
- Cirque du Solei’s ‘OVO’ canceled its April run and Pearl Jam postponed their scheduled concert. Monster Jam originally scheduled for April 4-5 was also postponed.
3/16: Sevier County dinner shows cancel performances until May 9
- World Choice Investments, the owners of The Comedy Barn Theater, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud, Pirates Voyage and Smoky Mountain Opry, will close the dinner shows until May 9, citing coronavirus pandemic concerns. The company is also closing its facilities in Branson, Missouri and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
3/16: Sevier County gets first case of COVID-19
- The Tennessee Department of Health announced Monday that a COVID-19 case had been confirmed in Sevier County.
- The state total on Monday went up to 52 cases.
MORE: Coronavirus in Tennessee: Case count updates
3/16: Knoxville mayor declares state of emergency
- During a joint press conference with Knox County and East Tennessee health leaders, city of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon on Monday afternoon declared a state of emergency in conjunction with the health department.
- The declaration gives “flexibility as needed to have legal and budgetary actions as needed as we cope with COVID-19.”
- The mayor also strongly urged people to stay home and practice social distancing.
3/16: MEDIC urges donors to continue to give blood amid the coronavirus pandemic
- MEDIC officials say the nonprofit has “an immediate and critical need to supply products to regional hospitals, and that without donors our region and country may be facing an unprecedented blood shortage.”
- They also say that MEDIC is implementing wellness checks for staff and visitors. That policy is effective Monday.
- While MEDIC is encouraging people to come in and donate, you should know, the donation process does not include getting tested for the coronavirus.
3/16: UT to continue online classes
- The University of Tennessee leaders announced Monday it will continue online classes for the remainder of the current spring semester.
- Alternative commencement ceremonies were being planned, UT officials said.
- Each campus will be sending out specific communications to their faculty, students and staff regarding the impact to its respective campuses.
3/17: Evangelist Will Graham cancels Knoxville event
- The Knoxville Celebration with Will Graham, which was scheduled to be held May 1 at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “I’m saddened that I will not be able to proclaim the hope of the Gospel in Knoxville this May,” Graham said. “The city has been an integral part of my family and our ministry, dating back to my grandfather’s historic 1970 Crusade and my father’s 2008 Festival. With that said, the churches in Knoxville are strong and passionate, and I pray that they will pick up the mantle. Particularly in this time of despair, mistrust and fear, I ask the churches and believers in Knoxville to shine the light of Jesus in dark days.”
- The Knoxville Celebration is the second Graham outreach to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the weekend, the decision was also made to postpone the Tiftarea Celebration with Will Graham, scheduled for this Friday-Sunday, March 20-22, in Tifton, Georgia.
3/17: Food City adjusting store hours; sets senior hour
- Food City is temporarily adjusting store hours of operation to 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, to give our associates additional time to clean, sanitize and restock. This change is effective immediately.
- The first hour of operation from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. will be specifically designated for customers 65 and older, as well as customers with underlying health conditions to shop to avoid busier shopping periods.
3/17: Smokies closing visitor centers, campgrounds remaining open
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, and Cades Cove visitor centers will be closed until further notice. Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health in consultation with National Park Service Public Health Service officers, these facilities are closed for the safety of staff and visitors. At this time, seasonally open park campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails, and restroom facilities located adjacent to visitor centers remain open and accessible to the public.
3/17: Sequoyah Birthplace Museum closing indefinitely
- Beginning today, Sequoyah Birthplace Museum will be closed indefinitely until further notice. “We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff,” a release from the museum states. “We hope you and your families remain healthy during this difficult time and we look forward to visiting with you all in the very near future.”
3/17: Tennessee Department of Health confirms 73 total cases in the state
- The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed 73 total cases in the state, one new case in Knox County.
- Officials are seeking to amend the recorded case in Knox County since the person was never in the area and had tested positive for COVID-19 in another state; the person’s “Record of Address” is in Knox County, Tenn.
- Health officials reiterated the fact that it was not a case of community transmission here in Knox County. The person was never here during their illness.
MORE: Knox County Health Department: Second* coronavirus case was never in the area
3/17: Dogwood Arts postpones all events through May 11 due to coronavirus outbreak
- Dogwood Arts has announced they will be postponing all events through May 11 to follow recommendations from the City of Knoxville and the CDC.
- List of events impacted:
- Chalk Walk on Market Square – April 4
Spring Featured Gardens – April 18-19
Dogwood Arts Festival – April 24-26
3/17: Gatlinburg SkyLift Park suspends operations to help prevent coronavirus spread
- Officials with the Gatlinburg Skylift Park said Tuesday they were suspending operations after 10 p.m. to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- The park will remain closed until further notice.
- The closure was “in light of the most recent recommendations from federal and local authorities regarding COVID-19 spread prevention.”
3/18: Knoxville Opera postpones Rossini Festival
- The Knoxville Opera is postponing its popular Rossini Festival and its performance of the “Harriet Tubman” opera. Those who have already purchased “Harriet Tubman” tickets are being asked to consider converting your reservation to either a donation or a voucher for the rescheduled production. You can email Marie Butler at email@example.com about these options. Rossini Festival vendors and exhibitors seeking a refund are asked to email Don Townsend at firstname.lastname@example.org. New event information will be on the Knoxville Opera Guild Facebook page as it becomes available.
3/18: Bonnaroo rescheduled for Sept. 24-27
- Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has been rescheduled to Sept. 24-27 out of an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of festivalgoers, musicians and staff.
RELATED: Lizzo becomes first female artist to headline Bonnaroo
- All current tickets and onsite accommodations (camping, tent rentals, RV, etc.) will be honored for the new weekend. Fans with off-site accommodations and shuttles purchased through the festival will be contacted directly with updates.
3/18: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies closing temporarily
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies will temporarily close to the public starting on Wednesday, March 18, to ensure the safety and well-being of team members, guests and animals at the Gatlinburg tourist attraction. Ripley’s said it will “continue to provide round the clock care to our animals and aquarium facility upkeep.”
- Tickets are valid for one year from date of purchase if you have already made a purchase. The public is asked to email Attractions@Ripleys.com with questions or concerns.
3/18: Simon malls, including West Town Mall, closing until March 29
- Simon, operator of West Town Mall, will close all of its retail properties, including Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills in the U.S. The closing comes after extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. All Simon properties will close at 7 p.m. local time today and will end on March 29.
3/18: Museum of Appalachia closing temporarily; café offering curbside pickup and delivery
- The Museum of Appalachia is closing through the end of March. The Museum Cafe will stay open for curbside and delivery service. The dining area will be closed to the public, but guests are invited to phone in their orders by calling 865-494-7680. The Cafe’s regular hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Delivery service will also be available to homes and businesses within a 5-mile radius between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
3/18: Smokies modifying rules for thru-hikers; suspending reservations for some park facilities
- The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is modifying operations to implement the latest health guidelines regarding COVID-19 coronavirus as it continues to take steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, CDC, and local/state authorities to promote social distancing, according to a news release.
- Seasonally open campgrounds at Smokemont, Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Cosby will no longer accept fees on-site. All campers must reserve and pay for sites online at recreation.gov to minimize the exposure risk for park employees and visitors.
RELATED: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Modifying operations to follow recent coronavirus health guidelines
- GSMNP is suspending reservations for gatherings at the following park facilities through April 30:
- Appalachian Clubhouse
- Spence Cabin
- Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church
- Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church
- Cades Cove Methodist Church
- Smokemont Baptist Church
- Starting immediately, backcountry campers and Appalachian Trail thru-hikers with reservations at one of the park’s 15 backcountry shelters are authorized to use a tent outside the shelter to provide for social distancing.
3/19: Volkswagen shutting down plant in Chattanooga for a week
- Volkswagen will halt assembly lines for a week starting Saturday at its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant that employs 3,800. It’s scheduled to reopen the night of March 29. VW says it will use the time to clean the plant and assess future production. Workers will get full pay, VW says.
3/19: Kohl’s temporarily closing stores nationwide
- Kohl’s announced today that as the result of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic the company will temporarily close its stores nationwide effective at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19. “To demonstrate our support of the efforts underway to contain the spread of the coronavirus, we are closing all Kohl’s stores through at least April 1. We will support store associates with two calendar weeks of pay,” company CEO Michelle Gass said. “We will continue to serve customers on Kohls.com and our Kohl’s App, and we look forward to reopening our stores soon to serve families across the country.
3/19: Ober Gatlinburg suspending operations March 23
- Starting on Monday, March 23, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park will be temporarily closed to the public. The business decision was made in the interest of protecting employees and guests by limiting possible exposure to COVID-19. Ober Gatlinburg will continue to closely monitor CDC recommendations and will notify the public when they are able to reopen.
- For guests who wish to reschedule their visit, the company will honor unused pre-purchased tickets for one year from the date of purchase. For questions regarding ticket sales and general information, email email@example.com or call 865-436-5423.
3/19: US State Department issues warning against all international travel
- The State Department on Thursday issued a new alert urging Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.
- The alert is not mandatory. The only way to ban Americans from going abroad would be to invalidate the use of U.S. passports for such travel, a bar that is currently in place only for North Korea.
3/19: Tennessee Driver Services Centers waiving new photograph requirements, extend licenses and permits
- The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security said most State Driver Services Centers will remain open but it is implementing changes during the pandemic. Starting Friday, March 20, the Department is waiving its requirement that citizens appear in person and have a new photograph taken through Oct. 1, 2021. This will allow many customers with expiring credentials to renew online and not visit in person. The e-services portal can be accessed at https://www.tn.gov/safety/driver-services/online.html.
- Non-U.S. citizens with (Class XD and XID) will still need to visit in person to renew those licenses upon the expiration of the current license.
- All driver licenses, learner permits, commercial driver licenses, photo identification licenses (ID), and handgun carry permits that would expire between March 12 and May 19 will be extended for six months from the original expiration date. The department will issue a letter of extension to the individuals affected. Affected individuals will be required to keep the letter with them during the extension period.
3/19: Blount Mansion closing through April 3
- Blount Mansion will be closed through at least April 3 in an effort to protect employees, volunteers, and guests and to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation and will make further announcements as necessary. The Dinner with Mary Blount program scheduled for Saturday evening, March 28, has been postponed until a later date which will be determined when the health crisis has passed.
3/19: Tennessee Aquarium lays off part-time workers, hopes to rehire
- Due to the uncertainty regarding the duration and timing of the coronavirus outbreak, the Tennessee Aquarium made the decision to layoff our part-time employees as of March 27. Employees will get their last paychecks on April 3.
- “The timing of this emergency comes at the worst possible time of our business cycle. The Spring Break period is when we begin to re-build our cash reserves following the off-peak winter months,” aquarium President Keith Sanford said. “Without revenue from admissions, we have had to make some difficult decisions to ensure the organization’s future stability. Myself, and all VPs and Directors, took the first step by committing to a reduction in salary.”
3/19: Anakeesta announces temporary closure due to coronavirus pandemic
- Adding to the growing list of East Tennessee tourist attractions suspending operations is the outdoor adventure park, Anakeesta, which will suspend operations beginning Sunday, March 22.
- “We will continue to monitor the situation weekly to determine an appropriate date to reopen,” park officials said. “We feel this decision is in keeping with our social responsibility to the community and look forward to welcoming back our valued guests in the future to enjoy the beautiful mountain views and family treetop adventures.”
3/20: Federal government moves Tax Day deadline to July 15.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Friday the IRS has officially moved Tax Day to July 15. Friday’s announcement will give extra time for individuals and businesses to file their taxes and move the filing deadline from April 15 to July 15.
- “We are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties,” Mnuchin said.
3/20: DENSO suspending production at its Maryville plant
- DENSO is suspending production at its plant on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24. In a statement from the company on Friday, March 20, DENSO is changing its customer production and support social distancing among employees.
- The facility in Maryville is DENSO’s largest in the United States with four manufacturing plants that cover more than 2.3 million square feet. The company employs more than 4,000 people and produces starters, alternators, instrument clusters, various automotive electronic products and inverters for hybrid vehicles at the facility.
3/20: Lousiville’s Wolfstock postponed
- Louisville, Tenn., officials have announced the postponement of the Wolfstock Music Festival as public closures ramp up amid the coronavirus pandemic. Originally slated for May 22-23, Wolfstock Music Festival will now take place Sept. 11-12.
- All the original artists will still be performing on the new dates, including headliners Justin Moore and Chris Janson, and performances by Lindsay Ell, Joe Diffie, Ricky Skaggs, The Cadillac Three and Maryville’s own Jackie Lee. All tickets will be honored for the new dates.
3/20: Knox County Health Department orders bars to close, restaurants to limit capacity
- Knox County Public Health Officer Dr. Martha Buchanan issued a health directive on Friday ordering the closure of bars and limiting capacity at restaurants. Knox County bars, or businesses licensed to serve food whose primary business is alcohol service, shall close for business until further notice.
- Restaurants whose primary business is food service shall limit capacity to half the seating capacity of their dining area, as outlined by their KCHD permit, or 100 customers, whichever is lower. Tables should be spaced, and seating arrangements coordinated, following the public health guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control — which is maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between persons. The order has no impact on takeout or drive-thru services.
- Restaurants with an attached bar — also known as a food service establishment permitted as an auxiliary food service operation — shall limit capacity for the bar area to 10 percent of the capacity specified in their KCHD permit with no standing allowed in the bar area.
3/20: Sevier County asks state Health Department to issue restaurant, bar directives
- In a release on Friday, the mayors and city managers of Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Pittman Center, and Sevierville have requested the Tennessee Department of Health issue orders for restaurants and bars in Sevier County. The orders would include no more than 50% occupancy for in-building dining, closing bars, and following CDC guidelines for spacing.
- The city of Sevierville has also created a website with coronavirus COVID-19 information.
3/20: Remote Area Medical suspends clinics
- Remote Area Medical has officially suspended all clinics scheduled for March 16 to May 28. The decision came on Monday, March 16, in the wake of the recently updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations on mass gatherings. New dates are being discussed for RAM to return to these communities later this year. “RAM continues to prioritize the health of patients, volunteers, and staff,” RAM CEO Jeff Eastman said. “The decision to suspend clinics did not come easy, and we hope to be able to provide this important care in the near future.” The public is asked to visit the RAM website or call 865-579-1530 for further updates.
3/20: Knoxville Mayor Kincannon issues executive order closing bars, gyms, clubs; limits restaurants
- Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon issued an executive order Friday closings bars, gyms and commercial event venues amid growing concerns over the coronavirus COVID-19. The order will allow restaurants and bars to offer delivery and take-out service. All gyms are to close by 8 p.m. Friday. The order takes effect immediately and will be in effect until midnight April 3 unless extended, modified or rescinded by further mayoral action as circumstances require.
- The restrictions imposed by the order do not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, retail stores, and charitable food distribution sites to the extent they sell or distribute prepared food. However, on-site consumption of food or beverage within these facilities is prohibited.
3/20: Tennessee confirmed coronavirus cases count reaches 228
RELATED: Coronavirus in Tennessee: COVID-19 cases hit 228, according to state health department
3/20: Farragut Town Hall and Community Center closing on Monday
- In an effort to reduce community exposure to the COVID-19 virus, Farragut Town Hall and Community Center will close to the public at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23, until further notice. Staff will continue to report to work and provide services to the community.
3/20: Oak Ridge closing more offices/service buildings including Municipal Building, Recreation Center
- The City of Oak Ridge Municipal Building, will be closed to the public until further notice effective Monday, March 23. The lobby to the Utilities Business Office is closed until further notice. To file police reports, Oak Ridge citizens should call the Police Department for guidance at 865-425-3504. Crime tips can still be made online.
- The Recreation Center, Scarboro Community Center, and Public Library will close to the public at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 21, until further notice. All library due dates have been extended for nine weeks.
- You can find a full list of office and services numbers here.
3/20: Niswonger Performing Arts Center updates schedule
- At this time, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville has extended the suspension of upcoming performances through the month of April.
- The following performances are affected:
- Menopause The Musical – POSTPONED TO SATURDAY, JUNE 27
- ARRIVAL from Sweden: The Music of ABBA – POSTPONED – DATE TBD
- Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure – CANCELED
- The Charlie Daniels Band – POSTPONED TO FRIDAY, MAY 29
- Broadway Comes to Greeneville – CANCELED
- For individual ticket purchases, purchasers will be contacted by the NPAC Box Office to issue a refund. For credit card purchases, please allow at least two weeks for this to be reflected on your account. For cash or check purchases, you will receive a refund check to the address on file on your order. Hold on to your tickets as they will be valid for the rescheduled performance dates.
- You can reach the NPAC Box Office at 423-638-1679 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org during normal business hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
3/20: Anderson County updates changes to government services
- Anderson County government is continuing to provide services to our citizens and, at the same time, doing so with necessary precautions in place to protect employees and citizens. The public is strongly encouraged to call their government office for the assistance they need and limit person-to-person visits at the Courthouse.
- The county’s public libraries will be closed, effective Saturday, March 21. The Clinton Public Library will continue to offer curbside delivery of items until further notice.
- Dental clinics will be open for emergent care only on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday mornings until 1 p.m. On every other Thursday and every Friday dental procedures, such as fillings, extractions and cleanings will be provided. Call 865-425-8803 or 865-294-5977 for appointments.
- The UT Extension Office issued new restrictions for extension offices late Friday morning. The Anderson County office has been closed to the public. Employees are still working. Call 865-457-6246 for information.
3/20: MEDIC moving to blood donations by appointment only
- Beginning Monday, March 23, blood donors at the four MEDIC donor centers will be seen by appointment only. This will allow donors to follow the 6-foot recommendation for distance from others. This will also allow donor flow to be smooth and reduce wait times. MEDIC is asking donors to continue to check the mobile drive schedule daily as the schedule can change.
3/20: Cocke County Mayor reports the first case of COVID-19 in the county
- Cocke County Office of the Mayor reported Friday that they have their first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county.
3/21: 372 cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee
- Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw confirmed they’ve had their first case of Covid- 19 in Loudon County, bringing the unofficial count in Tennessee to 372.
- The Tennessee Department of Health is releasing the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on a daily basis as new data is shared.
3/21: Students and staff at Vonore Elementary School asked to self quarantine for 14 days after possible exposure to Covid-19
- Students and staff at Vonore Elementary were asked to self quarantine for the next 14 days after possible exposure to Covid-19, according to Monroe County Director of Schools, Deanna McClendon.
- McClendon says the Monroe County Health Department informed her that a student tested positive late Friday afternoon.
- She says families and staff that were present in the school on March 11 or 12, 2020 were contacted.
- Currently, all classes have been suspended in the district through April 3, 2020.
3/22 Mayor John Cooper announces “safer at home order” in Davidson County
- Mayor John Cooper announced the ‘safer at home order’ for Davidson County Sunday morning.
- Cooper said until further notice, all businesses not performing essential services are ordered to close for 14 days.
- This order begins at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 23.
3/22: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs executive order mandating alternative business models for restaurants and gyms, lifts alcohol restrictions
- Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Sunday signed an executive order mandating businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models beginning at midnight CDT on Monday, March 23, until midnight CDT April 6.
- The order also outlines ways businesses and citizens should work to protect vulnerable populations.
- “The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” said Gov. Lee in a press release. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position.”
3/22: Tennessee reports 2nd coronavirus-related death
- A second resident of Tennessee has died from the novel coronavirus, according to a statement from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
- That statement released Sunday by the hospital said the adult patient was a resident of an adjacent county who had underlying health conditions.
- No additional information was immediately released about the patient.
- A spokesperson for Vanderbilt University Medical Center said this was first coronavirus-related death at the hospital, but the second overall for the state.
3/22 State reports 505 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee
- According to the updated case numbers on Sunday, March 22, Tennessee has 505 cases of COVID-19, up 36% from the 371 officially reported on Saturday.
3/23: 615 COVID-19 cases in Tennessee
- Tennessee has 615 cases of COVID-19, up 22% from the 505 officially reported on Sunday.
- The Tennessee Department of Health releases the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on a daily basis.
- The bulk of the cases continue to be in the Nashville Metro area, where there are two reported deaths related to the virus. But Shelby County has seen its numbers balloon and Knox County is seeing its numbers more than double.
- Earlier Monday, Knox County Health Director Dr. Martha Buchanan issued a “safer at home order” that closes non-essential businesses two weeks.
3/23: Blount Memorial employee tests positive for COVID-19
- Blount Memorial Hospital reports that one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19.
- That employee is a resident of Blount County and has not worked since Tuesday, March 17.
- The hospital says they believe that no patients were exposed.
3/23: Knox County Clerk’s Office closes all locations to in-person transactions
- Monday night following Knox County officials issuing a “Safer at Home Order,” the Knox County Clerk’s Office said it was closing all locations to in-person transactions in accordance with the order.
- Limited services are available at the Knox County Courthouse Drive-Thru 300 Main St. Knoxville, 37902; online: www.knoxcounty.org/clerk; by mail: PO Box 1566 Knoxville, TN 37901; or by phone (865) 215-2385
3/24: KAT offers rides for free, asks public to limit trips
- Knoxville Area Transit is offering fare-free rides indefinitely but is asking passengers to limit their outings to essential trips only.
3/24: Knox County Health Department announces 13 cases of coronavirus in county
- The Knox County Health Department announced that 13 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county. The announcement came from KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan at the department’s daily briefing.
- “Please stay home as much as you can to decrease your risk to your family and the community,” Buchanan said. “We really want cooperation from our community.”
- Buchanan said they are working closely with child care facilities to keep them clean and open for the public. The facilities the KCHD is working with are keeping children in groups of 10 or less and suspending all field trips.
3/24: Blackberry Farm pausing operations until end of April
- Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain are suspending operations until April 30. The luxury hotel and resort in Walland said their guests and owners are “our number one priority.”
3/24: Anderson County government updates closures
- Anderson County has updated its procedures for the property assessor, county clerk, county trustee and register of deeds offices have closed for in-person services. The Anderson County Property Assessor’s office will be closed for in-person, walk-in counter service through April 4. All three locations of the Anderson County Clerk and the Anderson Count Trustee’s offices will be closed until April 6. The Anderson County Register of Deeds office will be close for in-person business through March 27.
- The offices will still be open for customer service online, by mail and by phone.
3/24: Possible COVID-19 exposure at Midway Elementary in Claiborne County
- Officials at Midway Elementary School in Claiborne County says students and employees may have been exposed to COVID-19 on March 9, 11, 12, and 13.
- All students and employees should quarantine/shelter-in-place for 14 days from the 13, which is Friday, March 27.
3/24: Tennessee Department of Health reports 667 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state
- Tennessee Department of Health reported a total of 667 (including two deaths) confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state.
3/24: TWRA warns hunters that hunting seasons still in effect
- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is flagging a post that going around Facebook claiming hunting seasons are open now due to a shortage in food. TWRA said the post is not true and that the only animals legal to harvest right now are bullfrog, armadillo, coyote, beaver and striped skunk.
- Turkey season opens for youth hunters March 28. The full season opens April 4.
3/25: KCHD announces 20 cases of virus; County to pay for uninsured to get COVID-19 test
- As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 25, 20 people tested positive in Knox County for the coronavirus COVID-19, according to the county health department. Four are currently hospitalized, and six of the 20 have recovered.
- Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announced that the county would pay for COVID-19 testing for uninsured residents through the Knox County Health Department. The tests are limited and only those who meet the clinical guidelines will be tested. To qualify, those without insurance must first call KCHD at 865-215-5555. KCHD staff will assess patients over the phone to determine testing options. Residents must be symptomatic and meet clinical guidelines to be tested.
3/25: Sevierville Chamber cancels Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass
- The Sevierville Chamber of Commerce is canceling this year’s Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival. The chamber and event organizers are working to move as much of this year’s planned events to next year’s date, May 14-15, 2021. Country music band Shenandoah has already agreed to perform next year. The band was set to headline the event this year.
RELATED: Sevierville cancels Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass in midst of coronavirus pandemic
3/25: State Supreme Court extends limitations on in-person proceedings through April 30
- The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued an Order reiterating that all Tennessee courts will remain open during the coronavirus outbreak, but extending the suspension of most in-person judicial proceedings through April 30, 2020. Today’s Order extends the March 13 Order to April 30 and makes several clarifications and key additions.
- In addition, the Order directs the presiding judge in each judicial district to submit a plan for a reduction in the local jail population. Judges had previously been directed to work with local law enforcement, prosecutors, and public defenders to review their local jail populations and make reductions when possible.
- The Order includes a list of exceptions and applies to state and local Tennessee courts, including appellate, trial, general sessions, juvenile, and municipal courts.
3/25: Volkswagen Chattanooga extends production suspension
- Volkswagen Chattanooga will remain closed next week, extending the shutdown period which began March 21. Production is set to resume at 10 p.m. Sunday, April 5. All Employees will be given full pay next week. Employees who are able to telework, such as office staff, will continue to do so.
3/25: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon postponed
The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon announces new dates for 2020 races. The new dates for the marathon are November 14 through 15.
Online registration is open now at www.knoxvillemarathon.com for those who are not currently registered and want to participate in the rescheduled events in November.
3/26: Blount Memorial Hospital sets up coronavirus hotline
- Blount Memorial Hospital has opened an information line for members of the community with questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus, offering details on symptoms, testing and treatment.
- The information line, 865-273-4292, is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Callers will be able to access information on COVID-19 symptoms, self-monitoring and self-isolation practices; if necessary, directions to locations for testing and treatment; and information on hospital policies, appointments, and individual office or site closings. This is not a screening call center. Anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, should call their primary care provider.
3/26: Tennessee Department of Health says there are 957 COVID-19 cases in state
- As of Tuesday, March 26, Tennessee has 957 cases of COVID-19, up just 22% from the 784 officially reported on Wednesday. There have been three deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the state, according to the figures released Thursday.
3/26: Blount Memorial sees first positive COVID-19 case at hospital
- On Thursday, Blount Memorial Hospital returned its first positive COVID-19 test on a hospital inpatient. The patient remains hospitalized, and no information is available on the patient and his or her condition, the hospital said in a release. The hospital’s medical staff and clinical care team are caring for the patient’s needs while protecting themselves by using the proper personal protective equipment.
3/27: Cumberland Gap closes backcountry campsites and trails
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, is closing backcountry campsites and trails until further notice. The change comes in response to guidance from health departments in Bell County, Kentucky; Lee County, Virginia, and Claiborne County, Tennessee, to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The park visitor center, Wilderness Road Campground, and public restrooms are already closed.
- The Pinnacle Overlook and frontcountry trails remain accessible to park visitors. Law enforcement rangers continue to patrol and monitor the park.
3/27: KCHD: 30 cases of coronavirus; 8 suspected suicides in the last 48 hours in Knox County
- Knox County Health Department announced Friday morning that the county has had 30 positive cases of coronavirus. The number of recovered cases also jumped to 11.
- Director Martha Buchanan was emotional when talking about the eight suspected suicides in the last 48 hours. Calling the number “startling and disturbing,” she asks that the public “follow their heart” and reach out to their pastors, friends and neighbors. Knox County averages about 80 suicides a year Buchanan said.
- Buchanan also said that the decisions the health department has made have not been made lightly. She said that her staff has been working long hours trying to give the best information to Mayor Glenn Jacobs and his staff. Jacobs said the suicide number was “shocking.”
3/27: TDOH: 1,203 positive cases of coronavirus COVID-19 across the state
- The Tennessee Department of Health announced at 3 p.m. that there are 1,203 cases of the coronavirus in the state. Six have died from the virus. The number of Shelby County cases grew by more than 50 since Thursday, March 26.
3/27: Knoxville Police, Firefighters equipped with respirators, PPE supplies
- The Knoxville Police and Fire departments have distributed Personal Protective Equipment to their front-line first responders that is being used to fight the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Indya Kincannon said Friday. Adequate PPE is on hand in the Police and Fire departments for the time being, she said, but more supplies are needed and are on the way.
- “We’re in good shape right now, but we’re very dependent on the supply chain,” KFD Assistant Fire Chief Mark Wilbanks said today. “We have N95 respirators on every firetruck, and some in reserve, but that’s probably what we’re shortest on.”
- “We’re working with our partners to increase the number of N95 respirators, surgical masks, hand sanitizers, cleaning wipes and other supplies needed by hospitals and emergency personnel,” Kincannon said.
- Other materials being collected include gloves, gowns, face shields, goggles, thermometers and Tyvek suits. Both the KFD and KPD have ordered additional PPE supplies. Details on the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency collection
3/27: Young-Williams changing its operation habits
Young-Williams Animal Center has been changing how they operate as the coronavirus pandemic continues. The animal shelter is focusing on getting animals fostered or adopted.
RELATED: Young-Williams Animal Shelter offering pet pantry; Oak Ridge Animal Shelter closing indefinitely amid coronavirus pandemic
3/27: Kentucky governor asks Kentuckians to limit travel to Tennessee
- The governor of Kentucky on Friday urged Kentucky residents to limit travel to Tennessee, where there are over 1,200 cases of COVID-19, roughly four times the number in Kentucky.
- “Kentuckians can still go to Tennessee for work, to take care of a loved one or even buy groceries if it is closer, but the governor asks that unnecessary travel to Tennessee end,” according to a news release posted by the Gov. Andy Beshear’s office.
3/28: State numbers rise to 1,373; up 270% from a week ago
- Tennessee COVID-19 cases continue their rise with 1,373 cases of COVID-19 reported on Saturday. That is 14% up from the 1,203 officially reported Friday and 270% up from the 371 cases the state had last Saturday.
- There have been six deaths and 118 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 in the state, according to the figures released by the Tennessee Department of Health. Some 18,338 COVID-19 tests have been done in the state, according to the health department figures.
3/29: State cases grow to 1,537
- The Tennessee COVID-19 case count continued to grow Sunday with 1,537 cases reported by the state Department of Health while a national health institute forecasts a looming shortage of intensive care beds to treat patients of the virus.
- The Tennessee case count of coronavirus COVID-19 is up 164 cases from the 1,373 cases reported on Saturday.
- There have been seven deaths and 133 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 in the state, according to the figures released by the Tennessee Department of Health.
3/30: First death in Knox County reported; long-term health facility has positive case
- The Knox County Health Department announced the first death in the county from COVID-19. Director Dr. Martha Buchanan made the announcement at the department’s daily briefing. The victim was hospitalized and belonged to a “high-risk group for complications” with COVID-19.
- Buchanan said there is one Knox County long-term health facility that has a positive case of the coronavirus. That facility is following protocols already in place as for a similar outbreak like the flu or gastrointestinal illness.
- Buchanan also stressed the services for mental health. She suggested people read a book, go for a walk or watch a movie to relieve stress.
3/30: State cases grow to 1,834
- The number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee continues to grow at a double-digit rate per day with 1,834 cases reported Monday by the Tennessee Department of Health.
- COVID-19 cases are up 19% from the 1,537 cases reported Sunday by the state Department of Health. Because of the nationwide increase in cases of COVID-19, President Donald Trump on Sunday extended social distancing recommendations until April 30. Trump said even with the measures 100,000 people may die from the virus.
3/30: Knoxville Solid Waste Management Facility changing Saturday services
- The City’s Solid Waste Management Facility is making changes to its Saturday services. Starting Wednesday, April 1, the facility will no longer accept cash payments and the “reuse shelf” at the Household Hazardous Waste Facility is being temporarily discontinued.
- The facility at 1033 Elm St. will also be closed on Saturdays and the “Free for City Residents Day” program will be suspended. For hours of operation and more details, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/solidwaste.
3/30: Oak Ridge closes playgrounds, Sevierville closes parks
- Oak Ridge playgrounds will now be closed until further notice to protect citizens from potentially transmitting and spreading the COVID-19 disease. Trails, greenways and parks including tennis courts, basketball courts for passive use (no active games), and Blankenship Field and Track remain open at this time for walking and jogging use.
- All Sevierville city parks are closed effective immediately. Sevierville maintains City Park, Northview Optimist Park, J.B Waters-Love Addition Park, McMahan Addition Park, Forks of the River Cemetery Park, and the Hospital Greenway Trailhead Park. The Sevierville Golf Club is also closed. Greenways will remain open at this time.
- Mulligan’s Restaurant will continue to serve take-out menu items from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. See the to-go options at www.seviervillegolfclub.com and call 865-868-1579 to place an order.
3/30: Gov. Lee issues Executive Order No. 22 closing all nonessential businesses; urges Tennesseans to stay at home if possible
- On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee announced he had signed Executive Order No. 22, which amends earlier executive orders and essentially instructs nonessential businesses to close through April 14 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- The governor also asked that all Tennesseans stay home when possible to help prevent the spread.
- “This is not a shelter-in-place order, but it is a strong urging for Tennesseans to stay home when at all possible,” Lee said. “I personally believe that with personal liberty comes personal responsibility.”
SEE ALSO: LIST: What TN businesses, services are ‘nonessential’ vs. ‘essential’ according to Gov. Lee’s Executive Order No. 22
3/30: TN Dept. of Revenue extends filing deadline for business tax
- Due to COVID-19, The Tennessee Department of Revenue said Monday it has extended the due date for filing & paying the Business Tax from 4/15/2020 to 6/15/2020. The Business Tax is a tax on gross receipts that applies to most businesses selling goods or services.
3/31: Coronavirus case count jumps to more than 2,200 in Tennessee
- On Tuesday, March 31, the Tennessee Department of Health released the updated coronavirus case count and COVID-19 related deaths as reported from 80 counties.
- The number of confirmed cases jumped to 2,239, while the number of deaths also increased to 23.
3/31: Car mechanic offering discount oil change to first responders, public servants
- All Tune and Lube on North Broadway is offering discounts on oil changes for first responders, police officers, firefighters, EMTs and health care workers.
3/31: Volunteer East Tennessee asking community to create cards for nursing homes
- Volunteer East Tennessee is encouraging the public to serve the community and practice social distancing at the same time. The nonprofit is asking for volunteers to create care cards for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have been without visitors as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
- The Volunteer Project To-Go program asks that you create a card, write a happy message and mail them to a local facility. You can find more information here.
3/31: CAC launching senior calling program
- The Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee Office on Aging is starting a new “Senior Care Calls” program. They’re asking people to volunteer to call isolated seniors in Knox Couty once a week through the coronavirus pandemic to check-in and say hello. If you’d like to help call 865-524-2786.
3/31: Compassion Ministries offering food boxes tomorrow
- Compassion Ministries will be distributing 750 food boxes for any nonessential employees that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The boxes will be given out from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, at the old Kroger parking lot across from Farragut High School on Kingston Pike. For more information call 865-755-9512.
3/31: UT Extension offering resources to create home garden
- UT Extension Institute of Agriculture has resources on how to set up a home garden. Gardening is not only beneficial for food supply, but also therapeutic for many individuals. The agricultural support organization is offering a home vegetable garden calendar to get new gardeners started.
3/31: Coronavirus: Knoxville Mayor Kincannon issues order allowing for ‘corrective action’ against Safer at Home violators
- Mayor Indya Kincannon issued a Safer at Home order allowing for “regulatory authority” and “corrective action” within city limits beginning Wednesday, April 1.
- The mayor cited the number of coronavirus cases doubled in Knox County in the last few days and the ignoring of previous orders as a reason for the order.
- This new executive order only applies to the city of Knoxville and not Knox County.
- “Too many people are not taking this seriously,” she said. “I issued this order so our codes enforcement officers, Parks and Rec employees, KFD inspectors and KPD officers will be empowered to enforce this life-saving order.”
MORE | Coronavirus: Knoxville Mayor Kincannon issues order allowing for ‘corrective action’ against Safer at Home violators
RELATED | Coronavirus Timeline: April 2020