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Nashville creates coronavirus task force, issues guidance

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville Mayor John Cooper has formed a Metro Coronavirus Task Force, saying the city needs to “consolidate and strengthen efforts to respond” to the virus outbreak.

The formation of the task force comes on the same day that state health officials revealed that Nashville now has the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. As of Friday, 10 individuals have tested positive for the virus.

Mayor Cooper has appointed Vanderbilt Medical Center Director of Orthopedic Trauma Dr. Alex Jahangir to lead the task force. In announcing the appointment, Mayor Cooper noted that Dr. Jahangir is “both a renown surgeon and organizational leader, and the Metro Coronavirus Task Force is in excellent hands under his leadership."

Mayor Cooper stated in a press release announcing the formaton of that task force, that its purpose is to "facilitate more efficient sharing of information and ideas among Metro Government personnel, epidemiologists, hospital leaders, community organizers, and others involved in our coronavirus response strategy."

On Thursday, Mayor Cooper issued city-wide guidance regarding the coronavirus outbreak response. The mayor suggested, but did not order, that all large gatherings be postponed, he encouraged the use instead of "teleconferencing and remote working," and asked that organizations and institutions take “all necessary precautions to protect employees, congregants, students, and all Nashvillians.”

The mayor’s statement recommended several sources for additional information about the viral outbreak, including the Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line at 877-857-2945, the Metro Public Health Department website, the Tennessee Department of Health website, and the Centers for Disease Control website.

Nashville’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was announced by Mayor Cooper six days ago. The patient was reported to be a female who was suffering from mild symptoms and was self-isolating at home. Officials noted that her infection was not travel related.

As of Friday, March 13, the CDC reported there were 1629 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 41 U.S. states and territories. Forty-one Americans have died from complications related to the illness.

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