COVID-19 UPDATE (3/23/20): Tenn. officials report 615 confirmed infections, up 110 cases in 24 hours
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is no longer current. State health officials are updating the COVID-19 infection numbers daily at 2 p.m. Central Time. Please look for the latest report at WMOT.org/news.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- State Health officials reported Monday evening that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee rose by 110 infections over the past 24 hours, and Gov. Bill Lee has imposed new restrictions on state residents.
There are currently 615 confirmed cases of coronavirus statewide. Nashville officials say 164 Metro residents have tested positive for the virus, as have 93 in Shelby County, and 53 in Williamson County. Forty-five of Tennessee’s 95 counties are now reporting at least one coronavirus infection, up five counties in the past day.
The Tennessean reports Gov. Bill Lee signed an Executive Order Monday afternoon, halting most elective surgical and dental procedures statewide. Practitioners at the shuttered facilities are being asked to donate their remaining medical supplies to the state.
The move comes in response to word from medical personnel and government officials engaged in the coronavirus fight that they are short on supplies. Just this morning, Nashville officials noted that they now have the city’s long-anticipated drive-through virus assessment sites complete, but can’t begin operations due to a lack of medical supplies.
Elective practices are being told to take their medical supplies to the nearest Tennessee National Guard Armory. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency will handle distribution.
In spite of a growing chorus of calls for the governor to immediately order all Tennessee residents to shelter at home, Lee has resisted doing so. He has instead signed a series of Executive Orders in response to the crisis. A letter sent to the governor Friday by some 2,000 Tennessee physicians asks Lee to tighten restrictions immediately, or risk having the state’s hospitals overwhelmed.
An expanding number of towns, cities and counties across the mid-state have begun issuing their own stay-at-home orders to residents. Monday afternoon, Tullahoma became the first community to also impose a nighttime curfew.