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.}

COVID-19 Update: 5 Things You Need to Know This Week

1| Moore County holds steady at three cases. On April 22, Moore County got its third confirmed COVID-19 case but has not added an additional case since. That’s 30 days without a new case. According to local officials, all three local cases have recovered and are doing well.

2| There are now cases in all Tennessee counties. On Wednesday, the state health department reported the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Hancock County. This mean there are now at least one confirmed case in all 95 counties.

3| Restaurant, retail increase capacity. On Friday, updated guidelines for restaurants and retail stores went into effect by allowing them to operate at full capacity. Attractions and large non-contact venues can now re-open with appropriate social distancing and capacity restrictions. Under the new guidance, bars should remain closed unless used for seated, in-restaurant dining.

4| Free child care for essential workers extended. This week, Tennessee also extended free pandemic child care for essential workers until mid-August. At the same time they also expanded the categories of essential workers – allowing more workers to qualify. Those working in the financial, religious, utility and hotel industries, among others can now qualify.

5| State unemployment claims now highest in state history. According to new numbers released on Thursday, Tennessee’s preliminary, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate is now 14.7 percent. There have been 532,580 new unemployment claims filed in the state of Tennessee between March 15 and May 16, according to the TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

{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.}

May 11 COVID-19 Update: 4 Things You Need to Know Today

The Tennessee Department of Health released new COVID-19 case counts on Monday at 2 p.m. and Tennessee now reports 15,544 confirmed cases (559 more than the previous day). Our state has now experienced 251 deaths. That’s eight more than yesterday. According to the state, 8,038 COVID-19 patients have recovered. That’s around 52 percent of reported cases. As of today, 273,277 of Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents have been tested. Here’s the top four things you need to know for today:

1| Moore at low risk for second wave. A Nashville-based healthcare data company called Decode Health released a map of counties in the state showing where they believe people are most at-risk of being hospitalized. Bedford, Davidson, Sumner, Robertson, Montgomery, Wilson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Maury counties were most at risk in Middle Tennessee (Level 4). Moore County was a Level 1, the lowest risk. The group also identified Coffee County as Level 4. Franklin and Lincoln counties were identified as Level 3 risks. (Source: https://bit.ly/2LkSgqo)

2 | Cases now confirmed in 94 of 95 counties. Pickett County confirmed it’s first COVID-19 case on Sunday leaving Hancock County as the lone Tennessee county without a confirmed case. Hancock County has tested 96 people.

3 | Harvard Study show Tennessee ahead in testing. A new Harvard Global Health Institute / NPR Study show that the Volunteer State is ahead of the curve national when it comes to testing. At 8,365 tests per day, the state is doing far more than the 3,266 daily tests recommended. (Source: https://bit.ly/2Lw4ay1)

4 | Sen. Lamar Alexander  exposed and in self quarantine. On Sunday, officials announced that Sen. Lamar Alexander is in self quarantine after a member of his staff tested positive for the virus. Sen. Alexander tested negative for COVID-19 last week. •

{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 20 Update: Number of tested in state passes 100,000

{Editor’s Note: This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more facts become available. This story was last updated on April 20 at 2 p.m.}

Monday's Update: The tested  number for Tennessee rises above 100,000 for the first time. Moore County holds steady at just two confirmed cases.

LYNCHBURG — With over 80 locals tested, Moore County’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases holds steady at two. Drive thru testing opened in the state this weekend with huge crowds reported at our two closest spots, Bedford County and Coffee County. Statewide tested numbers surpassed the 100,000 mark for the first time today.

On Monday, April 20 at 2 p.m. the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) released new COVID-19 numbers and there are now 7,238 confirmed cases in the state – a 168 increase from the previous day. Click here to see that report. Tennessee’s now recorded 152 COVID-19 related deaths. This represents two percent of confirmed cases. Another 3,575 Tennesseans have recovered from the virus according to TDH. That’s 49 percent of confirmed cases.

Here’s a timeline of COVID-19 pandemic:

Late December | Chinese health officials report a cluster of 41 patients with a mysterious “pnemonia” to the World Health Organization (WHO).

January 11 | China records it’s first COVID-19 related death. Two days later, Thailand records the first case outside of China.

January 20 | Washington State records the first U.S. case.

January 24 | A Tennessee Tech student in Cookeville tests negative for the virus. His recent travel history met the criteria for testing.

January 30 | WHO declares a global public-health emergency.

February 17 | An East Tennessee woman tests positive for Coronavirus while on the Diamond Princess cruise ship just off the coast of Japan. According to published reports, she remains in quarantine and has not returned to Tennessee.

February 26 | The first possible case of “community spread” coronavirus on American soil. This brings the total number of infected Americans to 60, according to the CDC.

March 5 | The first confirmed case of the virus in Tennessee happens in Williamson County. That 44-year-old patient remains in quarantine. His family members tested negative.

March 11 | WHO declares the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Two days later on March 13, officials declare a U.S. national emergency. By March 19, nearly all 50 states declare a state of emergency.

March 19 | The first confirmed COVID-19 case in southern, middle is announced by Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady. The couple who tested positive owns houses in both Davidson County and Sewanee. Officials say they had not been in Grundy County since March 5.

March 21 | Life begins to return to normal for folks in Wuhan, China where the virus began. No new cases reported there in the past three days.

March 22 | The first two COVID-19 deaths in Tennessee are reported. There’s also now a confirmed case in Franklin County.

March 24 | Tennessee Department of Health reports a confirm case in Lincoln County.

March 25 | Tennessee Department of Health reports a confirm case in Bedford County.

March 27 | At 85,356 cases, the U.S. become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. Tennessee surpasses the 1,000 case mark.

March 30 | Governor Bill Lee issues a Safer at Home order asking all non-essential businesses to close. Health experts now predict that the virus will peak in Tennessee around late April.

April 1 | Moore County is now one of 11 Tennessee counties to still report no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

April 2 | Governor Bill Lee issues a Stay at Home order. All non-essential folks instructed to stay at home and only travel for essential purposed.

April 4 | The number of global cases broke the one million mark with 59,986 deaths.

April 13 | Governor Bill Lee extends Tennessee’s Stay at Home Order until April 30.

April 15 | Moore County gets its first confirmed COVID-19 case.

April 18 | Drive thru testing begins statewide with two locations locally one in Bedford County and another in Coffee County.

{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.}

Small Town, Big Coronavirus Rumors: FEMA sets the record straight

Telephone. Telegraph. Tell a friend. In small towns like Lynchburg … and now with the help of social media … word seems to travel fast … especially in these uncertain times.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) developed a special webpage recently called Coronavirus Rumor Control, so we thought the newspaper might help you separate fact from fiction with their help.

1 | Myth: A national lock down is coming. Truth: According to FEMA, there is no national lockdown.  As with all information online or shared via social media, it is important to verify the source of the information.

2 | Myth: FEMA is deploying military assets. Truth: FEMA doesn’t have military assets. According to the agency, “Like all emergencies, response is most successful when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported.  Each state’s governor is responsible for response activities in their state, to include establishing curfews, deploying the National Guard if needed and any other restrictions or safety measures they deem necessary for the health and welfare of their citizens.”

3 | Myth: I need to stockpile supplies. Truth: It’s better for everyone if you only buy what your family will need for one week at a time. FEMA reminds citizens that, “many families may be unable to buy a supply of food and water for weeks in advance. Consumer demand has recently been exceptionally high – especially for grocery, household cleaning, and some healthcare products. Freight flows are not disrupted, but stores need time to restock.”

4 | Myth: The government will soon be sending each of us $1000 checks. Truth: According to FEMA, the U.S. Government is not mailing checks in response to COVID-19 at this time. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer. It’s important that you only trust information coming from official sources. The Federal Trade Commission recently provided more information about this scam and other common COVID-19 related scams on their website.

5 | Myth: Only those over 60 or with existing health problems are at risk. Truth: It is an unfortunate rumor that only people over 60 years of age are at risk of getting this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those at higher risk include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions. However, symptoms can range from mild to severe with and may have different complications for each individual. The CDC has a list of COVID-19 symptoms you may experience. Please continue to follow the official information from the CDC. So far in Tennessee, four cases have been under the age of 10 and 20 cases from persons aged 11-20. The highest number of cases in the state are individuals between the age of 21-30 … 122 cases in total as of Saturday.

To stay updated on the latest myths versus facts according to FEMA, visit the Coronavirus Rumor Control page by clicking 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.}

Positive COVID-19 case in Sewanee

COVID-19 update

SEWANEE — A Grundy County pre-school announced Thursday through a public statement that the parents of one of it’s students recently tested positive for COVID-19. This is the closest confirmed case to Moore County since the global pandemic began.

Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady also confirmed the cases in a video announcement on the GRUNDY 1st public Facebook page.

Both parents of a student at Sewanee Children’s Center tested positive. The couple own residences in both Davidson County (where there are 75 confirmed cases) and Grundy County. According to Mayor Brady all person suspected to have contact with the parents are now being tested or are in self-quarantine. He went on to state that the couple has not been back to their Sewanee home since March 5. •

{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.}

Air Force flies 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from Italy to Memphis

MEMPHIS — The United States Air Force quietly flew in 500,000 swabs used to test for Coronavirus from Italy to Memphis International Airport this week, according to the website Defense One, who originally reported the story.

“There’s multiple parts to testing,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Dr. Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon, said at a briefing. “The first is the swabs that are used to collect the sample from the individual who’s being tested, then there’s a liquid … that you put the swab into. That’s what we brought over from Italy.”

Memphis exists as a major Fed Ex hub and flying them there will help the tests more quickly arrive at their final destination. The Pentagon said that it’s just one example of the cooperation happening between countries to stop the spread of the COVID-19. To read the complete Defense One article, click here. •

{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.}

Live Updates: Moore County Coronavirus Closings

LOCAL NEWS — Sometimes life comes at your fast. Over the past week, we’ve witnessed the coronavirus situation evolve quickly … even in our small town. Things seem to change rapidly. So we’ve gathered a comprehensive list of all the Moore County related closings and postponements in one handy list.

{Editor’s Note: This list is in alphabetical order and will be updated daily. Last update March 17 at 11 a.m.}

Jack Daniel’s Distillery – Brown-Forman will closed the distillery to public tours beginning Monday, March 16 until further notice. Miss Mary Bobo’s and the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store will also close. The Distillery will continue to operate normally. Click here for more details.

Lynchburg Nursing Center – In an effort to protect their vulnerable patient population, the Lynchburg Nursing Center will significantly limit visitors for the time being. The Center is helping families communicate in alternative ways including telephone, texting, and video calls to residents.

Metro Utilities Department – As of Monday, March 16 the lobby of the MUD office in Lynchburg will be closed to walk in traffic. Employees will continue to report to work and the drive through will be open during regular business hours to accept payments.

Moore County Court System – Per an order from the Tennessee Supreme Court, most in-person judicial proceedings in Tennessee will be postponed for the remainder of the month of March. This includes Moore County General Sessions and Moore County Circuit Court hearings. Click here for more details.

Moore County Public Library – The library remains open regular hours but is closed to foot traffic. Patrons may borrow books, videos, and other materials on a drive thru/curb side basis. There are also several ways to access materials online. Click here for more info.

Moore County Schools – All Moore County schools will close on Tuesday, March 17 and remain closed through March 31. Click here for more details.

Motlow College – College officials have decided to extend spring break until March 22. Classes will resume online only on Monday, March 23. Click here for more details.

Oak Barrel Half Marathon – In response to COVID -19 and Distillery’s decision to suspend some operations, the organizer have postponed the annual Oak Barrel Half Marathon until October 24. The event usually takes place in April. Click here for more details.

{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.}

Motlow extends spring break in response to coronavirus

Motlow website screenshot
Image shows a screenshot of Motlow College’s current homepage showing that they are at a Level 2 response. {Image Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Motlow College announced on Friday that it will extend Spring Break for all students in response the the coronavirus pandemic. Spring break, originally schedule for March 9-15, will now extend through Sunday, March 22. Classes will resume in an online only format beginning Monday, March 23 and continue online only through Sunday, April. The college will re-evaluate at that point.

The Motlow Spring Break extension will be for students only. Staff will report to work as normal under the direction of their division leaders.

“The extension of Spring Break provides both students and the College the needed time to prepare for alternative delivery methods for classes and to deepen the availability of technologies needed to provide remote services should they be needed. The goal of
this period is to ensure the well-being of staff, students, and faculty while supporting the academic mission of the institution during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic response,” the college said in a press release on Friday afternoon.

Throughout the week, Moltlow College officials sanitized it’s building and worked to update their pandemic plan that divided responses into four distinct levels.

The move to extend Spring Break currently puts the College at a Level II operational stage. Throughout the pandemic response period, the operational status of the College will be posted on the homepage of Motlow’s website (mscc.edu). The operational level icon that displays at the top of the College’s home page will also link students to more detailed information about the college’s pandemic status. Students are encouraged to take time to review the homepage and the linked coronavirus information page to familiarize themselves with the various stages. Students are also encouraged to take any measures they believe are needed to continue their academic plans online, the college explained in a press release.

The College also decided o cancel all student extracurricular activities through the end of the month – including student travel. For more information, visit the Motlow College website. •

{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.}

Jack Daniel suspends tours temporarily in response to COVID-19

Brown-Forman will suspend tours at Jack Daniel’s Distillery beginning on Monday, March 16. Miss Mary Bobo’s and the Lynchburg Hardware Store will also close temporarily. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — Beginning on Monday, March 16, Brown-Forman will suspend all tours at Jack Daniel’s Distillery as well as close Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant and the Lynchburg Hardware & General Store temporarily in response to the conronavirus outbreak in the state. As of Thursday, there were 18 confirmed cases in Tennessee.

The Distillery will continue to operate as normal.

“Our goal is to minimize the risk to employees and guests and help lower the probability of the spread of the virus to our employees, their families and the community,” they said in a press release Thursday afternoon.

“Existing tour reservations that occur before March 16 will be honored. This closure will remain in place until the health emergency subsides. All tickets previously purchased during this time are refundable. We appreciate the understanding of all those who are impacted and encourage all to put their health and safety first.” •

{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.}