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First coronavirus cases diagnosed in Nashville and Memphis

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  State and Metro officials report that the first cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in Nashville and Memphis. 

Metro Health Director Dr. Michael Caldwell announced during a short press conference late Sunday morning that Nashville's first Covid-19 case is an adult female. Dr. Caldwell says she is self-quarantined at home. 

Officials say the infected patient has not recently traveled. How she contracted the virus is not known. All of her known recent contacts are being followed up by health investigators.

During the presse conference, state and city health officials stressed they do not believe Nashville has reached what is referred to as "community spread." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines community spread as meaning "people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected."

Dr. Caldwell recommended a number of precautions for city residents. They include:

  • Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds
  • Do your best to avoid touching your face.
  • Regularly clean any surface that is touched frequently.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if your are sick.
  • Be "respectfully aggressive" in suggesting that sick individuals stay home.
  • avoid shaking hands - practice alternate forms of greeting
  • Self-quaratine if you become ill.
  • Contact your health care provider if you suspect Covid-19
  • Senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems should be especially careful about avoiding contact with others.

The Metro Health Department stressed that the woman suffering from Covid-19 does not have a child in the Metro School System. Mayor John Cooper said the city will not, at present, be canceling any public event or closing public institutions.
Mayor Cooper closed the press conference by noting significant progress has been made this weekend in clearing debris from Nashville streets and neighborhoods following Tuesday's devastatng tornado. He expressed appreciation for the hard work of volunteers, utility crews and city employees.

The mayor stressed that, in spite of the arrival of the coronavirus in Nashville, disaster response and restoration must continue, but he also stressed that precautions must now be taken to prevent the spread of the virus even as aid is provided.

City and state officials have set up a Covid-19 phone response line. That number is 877-857-2945. Metro Health is providing additional information at nashville.gov/health-department. For general information about coronavirus, visit the CDC website. You can view the full press conference on the WTVF or WSMV websites.

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