Chattanooga becomes National COVID hotspot

According to a recent published report by The New York Times, Chattanooga (Hamilton County) reported 186 new cases and two additional deaths since Friday, making them a national Coronavirus hotspot. Their report is based on a recent Dataminr study that identified 22 small metropolitan and rural counties across eight states. The story also identified Nashville (Davidson County) as a national hotspot among major urban counties.

According to the report, Chattanooga’s rate of new cases per day is the fifth highest in the nation, doubling about every nine days.

On Sunday, the state reported 70 more cases in Chattanooga, which was the largest one-day jump since the global pandemic began. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 642 total Chattanooga cases and 15 deaths.

Local health officials attributed the jump in number to an increase in testing stating that 14,000 more residents (or four percent of the population) have now been tested.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes stated that despite the uptick, Chattanooga still had enough open hospital beds to handle the surge including 52 adult intensive-care unit beds and 361 adult ventilators available. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Lynchburg Nursing Center resident tests positive for COVID-19

LYNCHBURG — According to Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis, a resident at Lynchburg Nursing Center (LNC) has tested positive for COVID-19. That will raise Moore County’s total case count to four. Due to HIPPA privacy laws, no other patient details were available.

Life Care Centers of America owns Lynchburg Nursing Center as well as 200 other skilled nursing centers across 28 states. In early March, they announced that they’d be limiting visitors significantly due to the COVID-19 situation.

LNC removed the COVID-19 positive patient and transferred them to an area hospital for advanced medical care. All staff, residents, and their families were immediately notified.

According to Mayor Lewis, should the patient return to LNC they will stay in a prepared isolation area away from other patients for at least 14 days.

Free COVID-19 testing is available weekdays at the Moore County Health Department. To make at appointment, call 931-759-4251. The state also announced this weekend’s drive thru testing locations which include the Lincoln County Senior Citizens Center on Saturday and the Giles County Agripark on Sunday. For a full list of weekend testing sites, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

April 28 COVID-19 Update: 5 Things You Need to Know Today

The Tennessee Department of Health released new COVID-19 case counts on Tuesday at 2 p.m. and Tennessee now reports 10,052 (a 134 more than the previous day). Our state has now experienced 188 deaths (four more since yesterday). According to the state, 4,921 COVID-19 patients have recovered. That’s around 49 percent of reported cases. As of today, 161,928 of Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents have been tested. Here’s the top five things you need to know for today:

1 | Moore County continues to hold steady with just three cases. Regionally, Bedford County has the most cases with 167 – a two case increase since yesterday. Coffee County has 33 cases. Franklin County has 32 cases and Lincoln County reports 12 cases.

2 | Today COVID-19 cases in the state exceeded 10,000. Part of that increase is likely due to an East Tennessee hotspot. Over 50 residents and nine staff members at an Athens nursing home have tested positive for the virus.

3 | Tennessee will begin antibody testing soon in two phases. According to Governor Bill Lee’s office, the state will test 10,000 healthcare workers first. Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey stressed that the tests will be used “disease monitoring” only since the presence of antibodies does not necessarily correlate with immunity.

4 | In his press conference today, Governor Lee state that he will offer guidance of re-opening gyms and churches later in the week.

5 | According to the mobility data clearinghouse, Unacast, Tennessee now gets a D in social distancing, on their most recent Social Distancing Scrorecard report, which is based on citizen cell phone data. Earlier in April, our state had earned a C. Moore County earned a B overall, with just three confirmed cases and a 40-55 percent reduction in mobility. Click here to see that data. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

April 23 COVID-19 Update: Four Things You Should Know

{Graphic Credit: TN Dept. of Health}

The Tennessee Department of Health released new COVID-19 case counts on Thursday at 2 p.m. and Tennessee now reports 8,266 cases and 170 deaths. According to the state, 4,193 COVID-19 patients have recovered. That’s around 51 percent of reported cases. As of today, 123,100 of Tennessee’s 6.6 million residents have been tested. Here’s the top five things you need to know for today:

1| State numbers jumped by over 400 for the second day straight. Yesterday’s number increased by 448 cases and today’s number jumped by another 424 cases. Since April 21, the state’s been reporting about 7,000 new tests each day.

2| Moore County’s confirmed COVID-19 remains at three. On April 15, Moore County reported it’s first official COVID-19 case. Three days later, the state confirmed our second case and a third case appeared in the April 22 numbers. According to the report, as of today, 93 people from Moore County have been tested.

3 | Bedford County’s numbers jumped significantly this week. On Monday, Bedford County reported just 76 cases. By Tuesday that number skyrocketed to 105. Thursday’s count was 128. According to multiple news reports, the spike comes from a large number of positive cases at the Tyson Chicken plant in Shelbyville. The plant employees around 1,000 people.

4 | Governor Bill Lee plans to reopen 89 of 95 counties on May 1. On Tuesday, Governor Lee announced his plan to let his Stay at Home order expire on April 30 and re-open large portions of the state on May 1. Some business will be allowed to re-open as early as Monday, April 27 but the governors office has yet to release guidance for which businesses. Shelby, Madison, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Sullivan counties – where there are the largest concentration of cases – will re-open on their own timelines.

To view the state’s complete report, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

COVID-19 drive thru testing sites open this weekend

COVID-19
The state will begin offering free, drive thru COVID-19 testing this weekend. {File Image}

The State Department of Health will open 33 drive thru COVID-19 testing sites this weekend – one as close as Bedford County and a second in Coffee County. Tests will be available to any Tennessean concerned about their health or the health of a family member.

On Saturday, the two closest testing sites will be Shelbyville Central High School at 401 Eagle Boulevard or the Rutherford County Health Department located at 100 West Burton Street in Murfreesboro. On Sunday, the closest testing site will be the Coffee County Administrative Plaza in Manchester.

According to the state, the testing will be provided at no cost to the participants and all those on site to be tested can remain in their vehicles throughout the process of collecting a sample. Samples normally take 72 hours to process. For a complete list of testing sites, click here.

Tennessee’s Coronavirus Public Information Lines are also open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., CDT daily at 833-556-2476 or 877-857-2945. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

State blood supplies now critically low

blood donations
Over 200 state blood drives and nearly 8,000 scheduled donations have been cancelled in this month due to the COVID-19 health scare. Supplies are now critically low in Tennessee. {File Photo}

STATE NEWS — The American Red Cross reports that the COVID-19 pandemic is leading to another trickle-down, healthcare crisis … low blood supplies. According to the Red Cross, groups cancelled over 200 blood drives and nearly 8,000 scheduled donation in the past month leading to dangerously low local blood supplies.

Unlike toilet paper, blood can’t be stockpiled. Donations usually expire after 42 days. Without current donations, area blood banks might not have the supplies they need for trauma and cancer patients. The fact that many typical blood drive hosts – college campuses, schools, and churches – have closed is also affecting Tennessee’s blood supply.

Red Cross officials are quick to remind citizens willing to make a blood donations that the activity is considered essential under most Safer at Home orders. According to the FDA, blood and blood components are not known COVID-19 transmitters and there have been no known cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19 illness.

There is a Tullahoma Community Red Cross Blood Drive at 2211 North Jackson Street today from 12 to 5 p.m. and second at Traders Bank on Tuesday, April 14 from 2-6 p.m. Blood Assurance will also host a drive at Trinity Episcopal Church in Winchester on April 3 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Click here to find more Red Cross Blood Drives and click here for Blood Assurance details. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Lynchburg Nursing Center needs masks, gloves

LOCAL NEWS — On Monday, the staff of the Lynchburg Nursing Center (LNC) put out a call on social media asking the general public for donations of unused personal protective equipment (PPE) like N95 masks, surgical masks, surgical gowns, or exam gloves.

“In the midst of the coronavirus epidemic, there has been an increased need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). If you or anyone you know have extra, unused and unopened N95 masks, isolation/surgical masks, isolation/surgical gowns or exam gloves (vinyl, latex or nitrile), please consider donating them to your local hospital, nursing facility or urgent care facility. Any donations will be put to great use and appreciated by health care’s frontline heroes,” they stated on their Facebook page.

On March 18, LNC made the tough decision to close the facility to visitors, non-essential employees, and vendors. They also stopped all group activities and communal dining temporarily. Despite this decision, the staff is still working hard to connect patients with their friends and families through mail, telephone, video calls, and other technology.

To contact them about a PPE donation, call 759-6000. LNC is located at 40 Nursing Home Road on Highway 55 across from Moore County High School. You can also learn more by visiting their Facebook page or website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Harton Hospital alters visitation in response to COVID-19

Tennova Healthcare Harton in Tullahoma recently reduced visting hours in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. {Graphic Provided}

TULLAHOMA — Having a family member or friend face an uncertain medical situation is stressful under any condition. The need for social distancing to protect others only complicates that.

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Harton Hospital (Tennova Healthcare) will alter their visitation guidelines until further notice. Visiting hours will be limited and all visitors must pass a health screen before entering the hospital. Also, all visitor must be over the age of 16.

Hospital officials will lock the main entrance at 7 p.m. each weekday. On weekends, the only entry into the building will be through the Emergency Department entrance.

Additionally, all patients are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. If a physician determines any patient meets the criteria, they will order testing, according to the hospital’s website.

They also remind the public that should you develop mild symptoms, the best course of action is to stay quarantines inside your home. Only patients with severe symptoms and difficulty breathing should seek care. Elderly patients and those who are immunocompromised should also seek care as soon as possible.

As of Thursday at 2 p.m., there were no confirmed cases in Coffee County. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Flu cases increase; Vaccine still available locally

LOCAL NEWS — If you’re sick … stay home. This is the take away this week from the recent uptick in confirmed flu cases … especially in the student population here in Moore County.

On Tuesday, Metro Director of Schools Chad Moorehead decided to close all Moore County schools for the remainder of the week due to illness. Previously scheduled athletic events remain scheduled at this time but Moorehead cautioned any sick fans to “stay home and get well.” Following suit, the organizers of the annual Miss Lynchburg Pageant decided to postpone their event until February 8 for similar reason. The event was originally scheduled for this Saturday.

It seems to be a prudent move. Also on Tuesday, the State Department of Health confirmed the eighth pediatric death in Tennessee related to the current flu season. Three of those deaths took place in Middle Tennessee. As of last week, 45 of Tennessee’s 95 counties had at least one confirmed flu case. According to the CDC, Tennessee continues to rank high in flu activity.

Lori Neal Russel of the Lynchburg Medical Clinic says her office did see a slight spike in cases last week.

“I think it’s been bad in kids,” she told The Times. “But not too bad in adults.”

Flu symptoms include a fever of over 100 degrees plus aches, fatigue, weakness, cough, and a headache. Symptoms usually happen abruptly. Medical professional say it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re feeling sick, stay at home as patients remain contagious for three to four days.

Flu vaccines are still available at the Metro Moore Health Department as well as Lynchburg Medical Clinic. LMC also has high dose vaccines recommended for patients 65 years and older. To make an appointment with the Health Department, call 931-759-4251. To make an appointment with the Lynchburg Medical Clinic, call 931-759-4197. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

General Assembly considers legalizing, decriminalizing recreational marijuana

STATE NEWS — On Friday, State Sentor Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) introduced a bill (SB 1849) that would legalize recreational marijuana in Tennessee. If approved, the legislation would create a 12 percent tax on the sale of regulated weed up to half an ounce. According to the bill, 20 percent of that money would go to the General Fund, 30 percent would fund state infrastructure, and the remaining 50 percent would go toward public education. To read that bill, click here.

Under the bill, sellers would need a registered business and a license from the state to legally sell weed. Additionally the bill would apply to the growing, processing, manufacturing, delivery and sale of marijuana. Those licensed would also be able to sell only at locations zoned for sale.

A corresponding House Bill (HB 1610) sponsored by Representative Rick Staples (D-Knoxville) would allow each county governments to hold a referendum vote to decide whether the legal marijuana industry is right for their county. That bill would also decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession statewide. To read that bill, click here.

Proponents of the bills say they could reduce Tennessee’s opioid epidemic, create jobs, free up law enforcement resources, and add billions to state coffers. Opponents claim legalization will lead to increased teen use, more pot-related traffic accidents, and harm the environment.

According to state figures, more that 2,600 farmers are already licensed to grow hemp in Tennessee. It’s similar to marijuana but does not contain THC, the chemical that causes individuals to feel high. Hemp can be used to make cloth, rope, construction materials, and produce cannabidiol or CBD.

If approved, the new proposed bills would be scheduled to go into affect on July 1, 2020. To let your representative know how you feel, contact Representative Iris Rudder at 615-741-8695 or Senator Shane Reeves at 615-741-1066. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}