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.}

COVID-19 Update: 4 Things You Need to Know This Week

{Graphic Courtesy of the TN Dept. of Health}

With the announcement of Friday’s numbers at 2 p.m., Tennessee reported 14,273 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last seven days (3,430 more than the previous week). Our state experienced 77 new deaths this week but the deceased rate remains at around one percent. According to the state, 42,734 total COVID-19 patients have recovered. That’s around 58 percent of reported cases. As of today, around 1.1 million of Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents have been tested. Here’s the top four things you need to know for this week:

1 | Moore County gained seven cases this week. Moore County’s case count jumped 60 percent this week from 17 cases to 28 cases as of Friday. Those 28 cases represent .0004 % of Moore County’s estimated 6,488 population.

2 | Curve not flattened in Tennessee. According to Johns Hopkins University, Tennessee has not successfully flattened the curve and numbers of new cases continue to outpace those who have recovered from the virus. In the last seven days, testing has confirmed 14,373 new COVID-19 cases while Tennessee Department of Health numbers show that 7,299 have recovered.

3| Positivity rate is increasing. When you test more, you get more positives. This is the refrain we’ve heard from some when we post our daily numbers … and, of course, that’s true. That’s why we instead focus on the positivity number – or the total number of new confirmed cases divided by the total number of new tests – to attempt to get an accurate take. Tennessee ended this seven day testing period with a positivity rate of 9 %. According to the World Health Organization, countries conducting extensive COVID-19 testing should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days before re-opening or loosening social distancing restrictions. According to the Cases and Labs by County report on the Tennessee Department of Health website, Moore County has tested a total of 719 folks making Moore County’s positivity rate around 4 %.

4 | Local retailers now require masks. This week, a number of national retailers – including Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Target, CVS, Starbucks, Lowes, and Best Buy – all stated publicly that they would begin requiring all customer to wear a mask inside their stores beginning as early as next week. The move is supported by the National Retail Federation, which on Wednesday stated that “shopping in a store is a privilege, not a right. If a customer refuses to adhere to store policies, they are putting employees and other customers at undue risk.”

{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 added five new COVID cases this week

Cases in Moore County are spiking as shown in this TN Department of Health graphic. {Graphic Provided)

Things are moving fast on the COVID-19 front in Moore County and across Tennessee. Each week, we try to highlight the things you need to know to keep you and your loved one safe.

1 | Cases are increasing in Moore County. Moore County added 5 new cases this week. On Saturday, July 4 the state reported just 12 cases in Moore County. By Friday, that number had jumped to 17. The Tennessee Department of Health as labeled Moore County as one to watch because we’ve gotten more than 10 new cases since July 3.

2 | Cases are surging statewide. On Wednesday, Tennessee experienced it’s biggest one-day jump in confirmed cases since the Tennessee Department of Health started updating daily numbers. Confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to 55,986 – a 2,472 one day increase. On Friday, the state experienced it’s second biggest increase with 1,955 more than the previous day.

3 | Shelbyville continues to be a regional hotspot. Bedford County continues to be a southern, middle Tennessee hotspot ending this week with 598 confirmed cases – 39 more than the previous week.

4 | Tests are free to anyone who wants one. Anyone who wants to be tested for COVID-19 in Tennessee may do so – regardless of symptoms – and the state will pay for it. This week, locals experienced long lines at the drive through testing center at the Coffee County Health Department in Manchester. Locals can also be tested at the Moore County Health Department on Majors Boulevard. Call 931-759-4251 for testing hours or to make an appointment.

5 | Positivity rate is a key metric. Many argue that more testing equals more positive results. That true but the metric that really matters is the positivity rate, which calculates the number of positive test based on the total number tested. The World Health Organization recommends that the positivity rate should be less than five percent or below for social distancing measure to be relaxed. Tennessee’s current positivity rate is 8.9 % and Moore County’s is 3.1%.

{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.}

Emergency COVID-19 cash available for some Moore County families

The global COVID-19 pandemic caught many local families off guard. State emergency cash assistance seeks to help families through to the other side. {File Photo}

STATE NEWS — The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us … but for some, especially those who have lost income, it’s been more difficult than others. Time is running out to apply for Emergency Cash Assistance offered through the Tennessee Department of Human services.

The program provides two monthly cash payment to families that were unemployed as of March 11, 2020, and have lost a job or lost 50 percent of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency.

To apply online, click here. The state will accept application through June 30. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides the emergency funding. If approved, applicant will receive a $500 (up to two person household), a $750 (up to four person household), or a $1000 (for a household of five or more) award.

According to their website, to be eligible, families must have been employed as of March 11, 2020 but have since then lost employment or at least 50 percent of their earned income due to the COVID-19 emergency, include a child under the age of 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid Social Security Number, must not have resources exceeding $2000, and the gross and/or unearned monthly income may not exceed 85 percent of the State’s Median Income. Click here for complete details.

Emergency COVID-19 funds are available in addition to any unemployment benefits individuals in the family may receive, according to the state. •

{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

{Graphic Courtesy of the TN Dept. of Health}

With the announcement of Friday’s numbers at 2 p.m., Tennessee reported 25,520 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last seven days (3,435 more than the previous week). Our state experienced 48 new deaths this week. According to the state, 16,925 total COVID-19 patients have recovered. That’s around 66 percent of reported cases. As of today, 482,172 of Tennessee’s 6.8 million residents have been tested. Here’s the top five things you need to know for today:

1 | COVID cases are on the rise. The seven day period from Saturday to Friday saw an increase of 3,435 cases this week. That’s a 1,545 increase over the previous seven day period.

2 | Judge rules in favor of mail in voting. On Thursday, a Davidson County judge ruled that Tennessee must allow all 4.1 million registered voters to vote by mail due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The decision overrules Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office who’d stated that fear of catching the virus was not a reason to expand absentee voting.

3 | Fairs, festivals, and parades are a go. Also on Thursday, Governor Bill Lee announces that the state would lift restrictions on larger events in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Attendees are still encouraged to social distance and wear a mask.

4 | Tennessee’s Lake County leads U.S. in number of active cases per capita. After an outbreak at an area prison, Lake County — a small town in the northwest corner of the state with a population of just over 7,500 — has reported 352 new cases over the past seven days. Local officials attribute the spike to an outbreak at Northwest Correctional Complex. However, online records for the prison show only 230 inmates as positive for the virus, according to the Associated Press.

5| Tennessee stops distributing free sock masks after discovering that they had been sprayed with the chemical known as Silvadur. According to North Carolina manufacturer who supplied them, Silvadur is an anti-microbial agent commonly applied to fabrics to reduce growth of bacteria that cause odor. The state ordered an independent safety study and asks those who already possess the masks to use them “at their own discretion.”

{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.}

Health Department changes COVID-19 testing hours

The Moore County Health Department recently reduced its COVID-19 testing hours to 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

MOORE COUNTY — The state reports that demand for COVID-19 testing is waning despite this week’s increase in cases. So far in the first week of June, there have been 1,816 new cases and Tuesday, the state saw its biggest one day increase with 821 cases.

Moore County’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases also jumped from three to five just this week.

However, following the state’s lead, the Metro Moore County Health Department (MCHD) recently adjusted their hours for free, public COVID-19 testing to 8-10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Previously the MCHD tested from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tests are free to all Moore County residents whether they are actively showing symptoms or not. Test results are usually available within 72 hours, depending on the volume of tests the state labs receives that day.

The MCHD is located at 251 Majors Boulevard across from the Lynchburg Dollar General Store. To make an appointment or confirm testing availability call them at 931-759-4251. For general information, Moore County residents may also dial the South Central Regional Hotline between the hours of 8 a.m. at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 931-490-8312. The state also mans public information lines at 877-857-2945 or 833-556-2476 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Monday – Friday and 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday. •

{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.}

Three Coffee County Jail employees test positive for COVID-19

MANCHESTER — According to a press release, three Coffee County Jail employees have tested positive for COVID-19 but there are no confirmed cases within the prison population. The three employees live together in the same apartment, according to the release.

Coffee County Sheriff Chad Partin stated in the release that all remaining staff have been notified and given information about being tested. He also stated that the jail is following and will continue to follow all national, state, and local social distancing practices.

The Coffee County Jail is located at 76 Hillsboro Highway in Manchester. For more information, contact the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department at 931-728-3591. •

{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.}

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.}