COVID-19 Snapshot: What you need to know this week

{Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving with lots of variables to consider when making decisions about how best to keep both you and your loved one safe. Each Wednesday, The Lynchburg Times will publish a weekly snapshot. It’s our attempt do collect all the important metrics is a single place for our citizens.}

Moore County gained 20 new COVID cases in the past 24 hours and now has 98 active cases and 649 inactive or recovered cases.

20 new cases in the past 24 hours. On Thursday at 2 p.m., the Tennessee Department of Health stated that Moore County reported 20 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 753 since the global pandemic began in 2020. For comparison, our four surrounding counties reported the following increases over the past 24 hours: Bedford County 88, Coffee County 91, Franklin County 55, and Lincoln County 81.

52 new cases over the past seven days. According to the state numbers, Moore County gained 52 new, active cases over the past seven days. For comparison, our four surrounding counties reported the following increases over the past seven days: Bedford 407, Coffee 365, Franklin 257, and Lincoln County 254.

Eighth highest rate of infection. According to the COVID Act Now website, Moore County currently reports the 8th highest rate of infection among Tennessee’s 95 counties. Nearby Giles County ranks number one. Our surrounding counties ranks as follows: #11 Bedford County, #12 Lincoln County, #39 Franklin County, and #55 Coffee County. These ranking are based on daily new cases per 100,000 population.

Moore County is currently in vaccine phase 1a2. This means that vaccine will be available to all 1a1 phase persons (all high exposure health care workers, residents and staff of long term care facilities, first responders, and adults who cannot live independently) as well as 1a2 phase persons (outpatient healthcare workers with direct exposure including mortuary services). Any citizen aged 75 or older is also eligible to be vaccinated. All 1a1 person are considered priority – meaning that they go to the the front of the line regardless of which risk-based or age-based phase Moore County is in. To determine your vaccine phase, click here.

No COVID vaccine shipment for the week of January 4-9. According to state officials, Moore County will not receive a COVID-19 vaccine shipment this week for the public. Instead, those available vaccines for all counties are being redirected to area drug store, who are responsible for administering doses to long-term care facility like Lynchburg Nursing Center.

Less than two percent of Moore County currently vaccinated. According to the state, 1.6 percent of residents in Moore County are currently vaccinated. That’s a little over 100 people. By comparison, less than three percent of Tennesseans are currently vaccinated. According to the state, more that 157,000 total vaccinations have been administered across Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents. That’s around 2.3 percent.

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Citizen vaccinations begin in Moore County

On December 21, local first responder Hunter Case became the first person in Moore County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo Provided)

LOCAL NEWS — On December 21, Metro Assistant EMA Director and Critical Care Paramedic Hunter Case became the first person in Moore County to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Since then, local health department officials have been busy behind the scenes giving the vaccine to high exposure health care workers, residents and staff of Lynchburg Nursing Center, first responders, dental and medical office staff, funeral and mortuary workers, and other state identified tier 1 individuals.

On Saturday, January 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Moore County Health Department will be open and offering COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 75 years of age and older. Vaccinations are free and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. You do not need an appointment.

Mayor Bonnie Lewis says that COVID testing and COVID vaccinations will not take place on the same days. Citizens may go to any state health department to receive the vaccine including the Lincoln County Health Department at 1000 West Washington Street and the Tullahoma Health Department located at 615 Wilson Avenue.

“Right now, only state health departments have the vaccine for citizens but you can go to any health department you choose,” says Mayor Lewis.

State health departments will be closed on Thursday for New Years Eve and Friday for New Years Day. If you have questions, you may contact the Moore County Health Department at 931-759-4251.•

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

MCHS Athletic Director: Immediate households can attend Raiders games, everyone should tune in remotely

LOCAL NEWS — In a move that’s been coming for week, Moore County High School Athletic Director Josh Deal announced on Monday that the school would be following the TSSAA attendance recommendations for all upcoming basketball games and wrestling matches effective immediately. This mean that only players and their immediate families (those that also live in the same household) may attend both home and away games. The TSSAA guidelines also prevents bands, pep bands, cheerleaders, and dance teams from attending athletic contests.

“We hate that it has come to this, but TSSAA is attempting to allow these kids to have a season,” Deal stated via the Moore County Athletics Facebook page.

The move is a trickle down from Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. the 70 issued on December 20, which stated that due to a significant increase in the incidences of COVID-19 infections in Tennessee, the state would restrict who may attend interscholastic athletic practices and contest until January 19, 2021.

Moore County administrators told The Lynchburg Times that they understood fan frustration but they were simply enforcing the rules put in place on the state level.

“Many people have questions right now about athletics, Winterfest, beauty pageants, and other events that normally occur this time of year.  Unfortunately, we do not have answers at this time,” said Director of Schools Chad Moorehead. “Our main priority at this point is the health and well being of our students, staff, and community.  Please continue to be patient as we work to navigate this difficult situation.”

Raider fans can still watch events remotely thanks to the Moore County High School student broadcasting team. Locals can tune into the Moore County Sports Network broadcast through the NFHS Network. There is a subscription cost but fan can buy a one time game pass for $9 each – just a little more than a ticket to a home Raider game. Fifty percent of the virtual ticket price goes to the student broadcasting team.

Subscriptions also give locals access to other school’s live sporting events and previous Raider events through the On Demand feature, according to MCSN teacher sponsor Jonah Deal. Deal says that live streaming on Facebook or YouTube isn’t feasible because of the TSSAA licensing fees.

For more information about the student broadcasting team, visit http://www.mcraiders.net. To learn more about the NFHS Network, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Motlow adds thermal temp scanners to Moore County campus

Motlow’s Moore County campus recently added no-contact, thermal temperature scanners at the Marcum Technology Center, Simon Hall, Nisbett Center, and Ingram Administration buildings. (Photo Credit: Motlow College)

LOCAL NEWS — As COVID-19 cases rise throughout Middle Tennessee, Motlow College is stepping up their safety precautions by placing new, no-contact temperature scanners at building entrances.

Each thermal scanner provides a non-contact fever inspection kiosk that provides detection of temperature, with or without a mask, in less than one second. The thermal scanners are now provided as a supplemental aid to Motlow’s existing on-campus requirements. Students, staff, and visitors are still required to submit a self-assessment health screening form before coming to any Motlow campus. Scanners were added at the Marcum Technology Center, Simon Hall, Nisbett Center, and Ingram Administration on the Moore County campus.

The scanners are simple to use. Walk towards the scanner and it will detect your presence. It will display your temperature on the screen and tell you if you are cleared to enter the building. If your temperature is 100.4 or above, you are not cleared to enter the building and you should leave campus immediately.

To learn more about Motlow College’s on-campus COVID safety requirements, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Moore County doubles its number of new COVID cases this week

COVID 19 continues to spike across the United States and the state of Tennessee. But what do those number mean in a small, rural town like Lynchburg? Each Monday, The Lynchburg Times drills down and examines the global pandemic from a hyper local perspective to help Moore County make informed decisions. Here are five pieces of information, we think you should know from the last seven days:

In the last seven day (November 8-14), Moore County has gained 30 new, active COVID-19 cases and now has a 26.3% positivity rate, per the TN Department of Health. (Graphic Provided)

Moore County doubled its new case count this week. Moore County gained 30 new, active COVID-19 cases in the past seven days. Last Sunday, the state department of health reported 303 total cases and on Saturday that number is 329. That’s double the number of new cases from the previous week. From November 1-7, Moore County only gained just 13 new cases. According to the state, Moore County’s positivity as of Saturday was 26.3 percent. According to the World Health Organization, an positivity rate above five percent suggests that virus is spreading freely within a given community.

Every other southern middle Tennessee county also doubled their case count. Bedford County increased 229 cases last week (up from 104 the previous week). Coffee County went from 114 new cases to 181 new cases. Franklin County jumped 179 new cases (up from 76 the previous week) and Lincoln got 178 new case last week as compared to 86 the week before.

ICU bed capacity is just 11 percent in the state. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 36 percent (or 530 beds) of the state’s isolated COVID beds are available and 11 percent (or 219 beds) of the state’s ICU beds are available for incoming COVID-19 patients. This week’s hospital capacity reports also states that 72 percent of the state’s supply of ventilators (or 2,576 ventilators) are available. To read the complete report, click here.

Moore County Junior Pro basketball seasons is a go. Despite the fact that both Director of Schools Chad Moorehead and several school board members expressed concerns the Metro School Board voted unanimously to move forward with Junior Pro Basketball at the LES Gym this winter. The measure closely follows the rules established for both Moore County High School an Middle School games and follows all TSSAA guidelines. The board gave Director Moorehead broad authority to pull the plug on those season “at his discretion” should it become necessary.

Mayor Lewis says she will not issue a mask mandate. Governor Bill Lee continues to refuse to issue a state wide mask mandate, instead pushing off the the issue onto county-level officials and local mayors. At the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday, Mayor Lewis told the group that while she supports mask wearing, she did not feel as if the majority of Moore County citizens would support such a measure. Sheriff Hatfield has also previously stated that a local mask mandate would be next to impossible to enforce. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Moore gains 21 new COVID cases this week

As shown on this TN Department of Health graphic, Moore County has experienced a total of 286 COVID-19 cases including 21 new cases this week.

As of this afternoon’s Tennessee Department of Health’s 2 p.m. numbers, Moore County confirmed 21 new, active COVID-19 cases this week. That’s down from 29 new cases last week. Our last reported positivity rate was 26.4 percent.

Coffee County continues to be a regional hotspot with 161 new cases this week. They has 163 new cases last week. Bedford County added 124 – an increase of 25 over the previous week. Franklin County and Lincoln County both reported fewer cases this week than last week.

Here’s are the other top three things you should know this week:

1 | Tennessee #9 state with most COVID cases. This week, a White House Coronavirus Taskforce report showed that Tennessee is among the top 10 states with the most new COVID cases. This week the state gained 15,401 new cases and there are currently 26,478 active cases, according to this afternoon’s TN Department of Health numbers. Governor Lee continues to resist issuing a state-wide mask mandate and instead leaves that decision up to local elected officials.

2 | More cases coming from counties without mask mandates. A Vanderbilt study released this week, states that Tennessee hospitals are seeing an increased number of patients from areas without a mask mandate. “We’ve seen a statewide increase in hospitalizations since early October, indicating that masking alone is not sufficient to curb further spread of the virus,” John Graves, associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said in a news release. “But it’s very clear that areas where masking requirements have remained in place have seen much lower growth in COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

3| State hosts free COVID testing in rural counties. The numbers clearly show that COVID cases are surging in rural areas. As such, the state will hold six free COVID 19 testing events in rural counties this weekend. The two in middle Tennessee are planned for Smith County and Wilson County.

To view the new COVID-19 Dashboard created by the TN Department of Health, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

Moore County gains 29 new COVID cases this week

Moore County gained 29 new COVID-19 cases in the last seven days. That’s almost double the number of the previous seven day period. (Graphic Courtesy of TDH)

Moore County almost doubled our seven day COVID cases totals the week. From October 16-23, Moore County gained 29 new active cases as compared to 15 in the previous seven day period. Our positivity rate for this week was 15.7 percent.

Regionally, Coffee County continues to be a regional hotspot with 163 new cases in the past seven days. Other counties were as follows: Bedford (99), Franklin (90), and Lincoln (82)

1 | State surpasses 3,000 dead Tennesseans due to COVID. On Thursday, Tennessee passed a sad milestone when the Tennessee Department of Health reported 3,011 deaths in the state due to COVID-19.

2 | Drive thru testing available in Grundy County this weekend. According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), free COVID-19 testing will be available on Saturday, October 24 from 9 a.m. until noon at Grundy County High School located at 24970 TN-108 in Coalmont. TDH personnel will offer nasal swab testing and results should be available within 72 hours.

3| Tennessee hospitals and a college issue joint statement on rising COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, three major Tennessee hospitals (Ascension St. Thomas, Tristar Health, and Vanderbilt Health) and Meharry Medical College issued a joint statement “Strongly urging everyone in Middle Tennessee, and all Tennesseans, to remain vigilant in the efforts to limit spread of the virus by wearing masks, washing hands, an staying socially distant — including not participating in large gatherings.” To read the full statement, click here.

4 | Coronavirus cases spiking in nursing homes. The White House coronavirus task force sent a sharp warning to Gov. Bill Lee last week saying the coronavirus numbers in nursing homes are spiking, contributing to the state having one of the highest spikes of the virus in the country. This included Moore County’s only nursing home. LNC tests patients and staff twice a week, according to the state and the most recent positivity rate is 15.4 percent. According to the state, the last positive test at LNC happened on October 12 or 11 days ago. The center must have no new cases for 14 days in order to be eligible for visitation.

5 | Hospitalizations are also spiking in Tennessee. As of Friday’s numbers, there are currently 3,756 confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state according to the TDH. This including 2,033 ICU cases and 1,723 patient on ventilations. Twenty one percent of hospital beds were available. Click here for the hospital capacity report.

6 | State launches new COVID 19 resource for citizens. Locals can locate a testing site, answer screening question to determine if you should be tested or quarantine, or view most a county and state dashboard. To visit the site, go to https://covid19tn.gov. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

State launches new COVID website for citizens

The new state website includes a COVID dashboard specifically for Moore County. Here is shows the number of cases reported per day along with the seven day average. (Graphic Provided)

This week, the Tennessee Department of Health launched a new state website (covid19.tn.gov) to help citizen get information and track the virus in their communities.

The new site addresses prevention including masks, which reduce COVID exposure by as much as 80 percent, according to the site. It also encourages frequent hand washing, social distancing, frequently cleaning and disinfecting, covering your coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you feel sick.

It also explains the symptoms of COVID-19, which included a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. It offers a self screening tool and helps those concerned that they may have been infected find the nearest testing site.

The website provide both state and county level dashboards. It shows total cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and inactive/recovered cases. It reports numbers of cases reported per day, testing per day, and the seven day positivity average.

To view the new Moore County dashboard, click here. •

{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.}

Moore County COVID-19 Update: 6 Things to Know This Week

This map represents cases by county as of Friday at 2 p.m. {Graphic Provided}

With the announcement of Friday’s numbers at 2 p.m., Tennessee reported 189,454 total confirmed COVID-19 cases. Our state experienced 136 new deaths this week but the deceased rate remains at around one percent. According to the state, 172,618 total COVID-19 patients have recovered or have inactive cases. Here’s the top six things you need to know for this week:

1| Moore experiences it’s largest one week increase. According to today’s numbers, Moore County gained 24 new COVID cases in the past seven days – from 145 on September 19 to 169 today. This is the largest weekly increase since the state began tracking numbers in March. There were more recoveries (17) than new active cases (11) in the past seven days. Moore County has experienced one COVID-related death.

2| Coffee County replaces Bedford as regional hotspot. Regionally, Coffee County experienced that greatest seven day increase with 141 followed by Franklin County (88), and Lincoln County (35). Previous regional hotspot Bedford County experienced the smallest increase this week with 33.

3 | More new state cases than recoveries reported this week. In state numbers, there were more new COVID cases (8015) in the past seven days than recovered/inactive cases (7636). Tennessee had 136 new COVID deaths this past week for a total of 2,352. Nearly three percent of Tennessee residents have reported confirmed cases.

4 | Regional testing moves from Manchester to Tullahoma. This week regional testing moved from the Old Southern Family Market in Manchester to Waggoner Park in Tullahoma. Free COVID-19 testing will take place at 1208 East Carroll Street in the pavilion closest to Industrial Boulevard. Locals may remain in their cars for testing.

5 | Nashville names hotspots. If you are headed to Nashville this weekend, it’s best to avoid COVID hotspot identified by the Metro Health Department this week including 49 sites and six downtown bars. These location have been linked to more than 2,600 cases of coronavirus and include Loser’s, Tootsie’s, Dogwood, Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk, Dawghouse Saloon, and Winners.

6 | Flu vaccinations are especially important this year. Health officials say in the midst of the COVID 19 health situation it’s now more important that ever to get a flu shot. According to the CDC, the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading this year and recommends that all people six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine. It’s best to get your flu vaccine before the end of October. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. 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.}

State announces new COVID mental health helpline for Moore County

The state recently announced a COVID-19 Crisis Helpline for Moore and 20 other Middle Tennessee counties. Call 888-460-4351 if you need to talk to someone. It’s free and confidential. {File Photo}

A COVID-related illness or death of a loved one, the isolation of social distancing, unemployment, the stress of working from home, remote learning … it’s a lot. According to a recent East Tennessee State University poll more than half of Tennesseans reported feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge in the week before the poll.  More than two in five respondents reported feeling depressed (43.4%) and lonely (42.8%).

But help is available for those who reach out.

The Tennessee Department of Health recently announced a new mental health tool for those suffering from mental health stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moore County will be one of 21 counties in Middle Tennessee supported by the Tennessee Recovery Project’s COVID-19 helpline at 888-460-4351.

The new helpline will also serve Bedford, Cheatham, Coffee, Davidson, Dickson, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Montgomery, Perry, Robertson, Stewart, and Wayne counties.

A volunteer staff will answer the new helpline Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. It’s available to anyone struggling with emotional stressors due to the pandemic. Staff will connect callers with local resource that can help.

“There are a lot of people out there, dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, and depression, who are hurting right now.  We want people to know that it’s OK to not feel OK right now and that help is available, and thanks to this grant, the department and our community providers will be able to help more people,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams, LCSW.  “We are grateful to our federal partners for this funding, and the department is committed to leveraging all available resources to support the needs of Tennesseans and the community providers who serve them.”

Federal grant dollars fund the new helpline through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and in partnership with Centerstone, the Tennessee Recovery Project, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. It’s part of a larger grant that seeks to offer crisis counseling in all 95 Tennessee counties.

For more information, visit the Tennessee Recovery Project Disaster Crisis Counseling Program’s Facebook 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.}