Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced on the morning of March 5 that the state has seen its first confirmed case of COVID—19, otherwise known as the coronavirus.
Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey confirmed that the patient is a 44-year-old male from Williamson County with a recent history of out-of-state travel. On the evening of March 4, he officially tested positive for the virus.
“He is currently isolated at home with mild symptoms,” Piercey said. “His household contacts are quarantined there at home and are in the process of being monitored and evaluated for COVID-19.”
Piercey made sure to stress that “the current risk to the general public remains low” and that citizens should follow the same precautions to avoid coronavirus as one would with the flu.
“While this is a serious situation, I urge Tennesseans to keep this illness in perspective, as the vast majority of cases are mild and manageable,” Lee said. “Simple actions like washing your hands can go a long way in us, together helping to mitigate the situation.”
He also noted that Tennessee is well prepared to deal with the coronavirus.
“We in Tennessee prepared early,” he said. “Tennessee was one of the first five states to begin COVID-19 testing, and we continue to remain confident in our ability and in the measures that we are taking to prevent the spread of this infection now that it is in our state.”
U.S. Representative Phil Roe also released the following statement on March 4 after voting in favor of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
“As a physician, it is of the utmost importance to me that we keep Americans safe by ensuring our public health agencies and health facilities have the resources they need to combat coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. I was proud to vote for today’s bill to provide $7.8 billion in emergency funding. The money will be used to make more diagnostic kits readily available and to support investment in a vaccine. It will also go to help our government combat the virus at home and abroad. I understand how concerning this situation is, which is why I think it was critical to act quickly and decisively against this significant public health threat.”
The emergency supplemental appropriates $7.8 billion towards the U.S. response to coronavirus. Included in that amount is $4.4 billion for diagnostic tests, research for vaccine development and other treatments.
In regard to the Tri-Cities, Ballad Health officials confirmed on the morning of March 5 that there have been no positive COVID-19 cases identified in Ballad Health facilities.
As of March 4, Ballad Health reported it was awaiting a COVID-19 test result from a patient in the area, but that test result was negative for COVID-19.
“I think the main message that we’re trying to share right now is that it is certainly time to prepare, but not time to panic,” Ballad Health’s Corporate Director of Infection Prevention Jamie Swift told the Review just last week. “There is no need for anyone to feel anxiety or panic over where we are in the coronavirus response.”
For up-to-date information on the coronavirus and preventative measures, visit the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.