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.}

Local Public Safety official explains change in COVID numbers reporting

Thanks to Moore County Public Safety Director Jason Deal, we now understand a little more about the confusing COVID-19 numbers reported by the state last Thursday. On Friday morning, he shared information supplied by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) about the changes.

In it, state health official explain that they are “improving” the data to reflect the evolving knowledge of the pandemic in our state.

Two major changes

The reports now reflect two major changes. One, active cases are now calculated differently — shortening the active period from 21 days to 10 days. This is resulting in a huge difference in the active case count. Before the change, the TDH numbers reflected 36 active cases in Moore County. After the change, there were just 15.

According to TDH, the case count reports will now include figures for “Inactive/Recovered” cases and will no longer include data for “Recovered” cases. “Inactive/Recovered” cases will include people who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date). This will more closely align with what is now understood about the infectious period of COVID-19, as recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days. Previously, TDH considered a case recovered after a 21-day period.

Also, the 18 new cases that showed up last Thursday were in part a data correction. According to the state around 1,700 Tennessee cases were incorrectly assigned to the wrong counties based on patient-provide information. This could for example happen with someone living inside Moore County has a Tullahoma or Mulberry zip code, which is common.

“These cases will be corrected all at once, which will result in case counts changes for some counties,” the state said.

It’s a statement that tracks. On September 3, Moore County’s new COVID cases jumped 18 from 97 to 115. Since then, Moore County gained no new cases on September 4 and September 7, and one new case on September 5, September 6, and September 8.

The state now also provides county snapshots that show total cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and inactive or recovered cases on a county level. To view that daily report by county, 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.}

Reporting changes cause COVID data confusion

{Graphic Provided by the TN Department of Health}

STATE NEWS — Today the Tennessee Department of Health released new numbers based on changed modeling and it’s causing confusion with both state and county leaders as well as media across the state. The TDH is reminding residents to consider case trends over several days and not just the daily COVID counts as it makes adjustments to the way it monitors cases counts in the state.

On Thursday, the afternoon COVID numbers supplied by the state showed Moore County’s COVID-19 case count jumped by 18 from 97 to 115. That large fluctuation is just a correction to the numbers, state officials explain.

The Tennessee Department of Health made changes to the way COVID-19 data is reported today. For example, the state will no longer provide numbers for “recovered” cases and instead TDH will report the number of “Inactive/Recovered” cases. This will include cases who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or for asymptomatic individuals, their specimen collection date) and who are not deceased.

The state also reported the there are an approximate 1,700 cases for whom the county of residence needs to be corrected and that correction will happen all at once.

They also explained that occasionally a commercial laboratory will experience issues with sending results electronically. When this occurs and then gets resolved, TDH uploads a batch correction as quickly as possible but those corrections sometimes result in a large fluctuation in the daily numbers.

It’s unclear which (if any) of these changes caused the big jump in Moore County numbers.

It’s also important to note that Moore County’s active case count, according to the state, went from 36 to just 15 even though the total increase overnight was 18 cases. Clearly THD new reporting parameters is experiencing growing pains. The Lynchburg Times will continue to closely monitor these number over the next several days. •

{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.}

Tourism up and COVID counts down several weeks after Jack tours resume

According to numbers provided by both Jack Daniel’s and the Tennessee Department of Health, tourism number are up in Moore County since the Visitor’s Center resumed public tours while active COVID cases are trending down. {Photo Courtesy of Jack Daniel’s Distillery}

LOCAL NEWS — Maybe it’s too soon to tell, but the re-opening of Jack Daniel’s Distillery to public tours doesn’t appear to be causing a local spike in COVID-19 numbers.

In early August, the distillery quietly resumed public tours at the Visitor’s Center and re-opened both the Hardware and General Store on the square and Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant, though all three modified things a bit. Masks are required. Hand sanitizer is at the ready, and in order to encourage social distancing, the number of folks allowed in all three at one times has been greatly reduced.

So we wondered, what effect (if any) is this having on both local COVID numbers and the many local business that cater to tourism in Lynchburg.

Weekly COVID numbers trend down in Lynchburg

Despite the fact that Jack Daniel’s draws tourist from not only around the state but around the world, the weekly numbers reported by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) seem to be trending down. Just prior to the reopening, Moore County gained 17 new COVID cases for the week ending August 7. Since then, that number has been trending down. For the week ending August 14, there were 13 new cases, 11 new cases the following week, and just eight new case the final week in August.

As of Wednesday’s 2 p.m. COVID numbers provided by the TDH, there were just 36 active cases in Moore County — a decrease from the previous week.

Small businesses get bump but still struggle

We spoke to three historic district small businesses recently and all three reported seeing a small increase in foot traffic but numbers that were no where near 2019.

“Last year on this day, I was $500,000 in sales above my sales today,” one small business owner said. “The COVID situation has really impacted our businesses.”

Another local business manager said she’d noticed a slight difference but no major increase in foot traffic since tours resumed. In part, she attributed this to the fact that the Visitor’s Center stopped utilizing buses on tours as a COVID 19 precaution. This means the distillery is not currently dropping off tourists on the Lynchburg Square as the last part of its public tour.

“We’ve seen a slight increase,” she said. “But it hasn’t been huge.”

Another business owner estimated that her business was up by about 25 percent since tours resumed.

“We would love for things to be back to ‘normal’, but we are optimistic that things will get better,” she said.

Situation that’s constantly evolving and monitored

Distillery officials say the active case counts and trends are something they are monitoring weekly.

“In terms of the COVID numbers, we evaluate these on a weekly basis as well as being informed anytime there is a new case,” Jack Daniel’s senior leadership told us. “Our HR team is responsible for tracking and contact tracing. This team includes our onsite nurse who serves as point for this work. We have a Homeplace review every Friday and this is one of the factors considered. Ultimately, senior leadership will make the decision if we adjust any operations in response.”

Jack Daniel’s say they would not hesitate to shutdown public tours again if that’s what the data suggested was in the best interest of both the distillery and the community but at the moment the numbers seem to be trending down. When we asked them what impact (if any) resumption of tours had had on local COVID numbers, they responded with a confident, “none.”

“In terms of resumption of tours impacting COVID cases in Moore County, we are confident it is none,” distillery officials told us. “The daily cases have dropped considerably.”

Distillery officials say they believe the summer spike was completely driven by the summer vacation season.

This graphs provided by Jack Daniel’s Distillery shows that there has been no real spike in new COVID-19 cases in Moore County since the Visitor’s Center re-opened to public (if modified) public tours in early August. {Graphics Provided}

“Daily guest count continues to climb as COVID cases have dropped back to near zero as vacation season wrapped up.”

Officials say the next trend they’ll monitor will be the impact of return to school.” •

{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.}

Get a free COVID-19 antibody tests at local blood drive

Blood Assurance will offer a free COVID-19 antibody test with a blood donation at their mobile blood drive at Jack Daniel Employee Credit Union on August 20. {File Photo}

LYNCHBURG — Donate blood locally and get a free COVID-19 antibody test starts a Blood Assurance mobile blood drive at Jack Daniel Employee Credit Union (JDECU) on Thursday, August 20 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The test is not meant for diagnostic purposes but rather to test for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies. Your results will be mailed to you within 10 business days.

Currently, the area blood bank is accepting donors through appointment only. You will need to answer a few health screening questions prior to your donation. You can schedule a donation by visiting bloodassurance.org/jackdaniels820 or calling 800-962-0628 or texting BAGIVE to 999777.

Blood Assurance officials say potential donors should eat a good meal and drink plenty of water prior to their donation appointment. They also advise donors to avoid energy drinks.

JDECU is located at 488 Majors Boulevard in Lynchburg. •

{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 You Need to Know This Week

1 | Moore gets seven new cases this week. For the second week in a row, Moore County gained seven new COVID cases. In the last seven days, 791 folks from Moore County have been tested. We now have 16 active case and 19 recovered cases. Moore County has not experienced any COVID-19 related deaths.

2 | Masks required at Raider football games. Spectator seats may be limited and those who do attend home Raider football games will be required to get their temperatures checked and wear masks, according to a plan approved by the TSSAA board this week. To read our full coverage of that plan, click here.

3 | Hospitalization numbers are on the rise. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week hospitalizations rose by over 100 for three consecutive days. That’s the highest daily increase since the pandemic started. In the past seven days, Tennessee’s seen a 471 rise in hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19 from 369 the week before.

4 | Only 16 percent of state ICU beds available. If you pay attend to COVID-19 related statistics, one crucial number to watch is the number of available intensive care unit (ICU) beds in the state. Currently, COVID-19 patients occupy 1,715 of our state’s 2,034 available ICU beds. That’s just 16 percent. The good news is that there are 1,037 of the states 1,578 ventilators available. For full Tennessee Hospital Capacity numbers click here.

5 | Tennessee experiences deadliest COVID-19 day. Thursday marked Tennessee’s deadliest COVID-19 day with 37 new deaths. That’s the highest single-day increase in Tennessee deaths since the global pandemic began. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Tennessee is now 938 as of Friday’s, 2 p.m. numbers.

Counties highlighted in orange are considered “above the threshold” for transmission rates. Counties in blue are below the threshold. {Graphic courtesy of the Tennessee Health Department}

6 | Numbers in rural counties are spiking. Long-term care facilities like Lynchburg Nursing Center use community spread metrics to determine whether or not residents can receive family visits. That metric is an average of less than 10 new cases per 100,000 over the last 14 days. According to the state Department of Health, Moore, Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, and Lincoln counties are above that threshold. In fact, 83 of Tennessee’s 95 counties exist about that threshold. For complete case county by county numbers, 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.}