NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Gun sales are up sharply across Tennessee, matching a nationwide trend as the coronavirus pandemic deepens.


The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says it conducted just over 77,000 gun purchase background checks last month, a roughly 64 percent increase over March of last year.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's job losses are soaring in the coronavirus pandemic.

New unemployment claims in Tennessee climbed to about 94,500 last week, up from 39,100 the previous week and 2,700 three weeks ago.

With the huge influx, applicants have hit snags trying to access the state’s online portal. State labor officials added capacity after a 2,000% increase in usage on Tuesday.

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- A Putnam County nursing home says 28 of its 175 residents have tested positive for coronavirus. Sixteen staff members are also infected.

The Cookeville Herald Citizen says the positive residents have been isolated in a separate wing of the facility. An infectious disease specialist has been brought in to oversee their care.

Tenn. Dept. of Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- State officials say surge planning is underway to keep COVID-19 from overwhelming the state’s hospitals, but now Tennessee needs volunteers to staff those facilities.

Gov. Bill Lee says Music City Center will be outfitted as a field hospital to take overflow patients should a virus surge overwhelm mid-state medical centers later this month. Similar large venues are being outfitted in Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Memphis, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- St. Jude has created a coloring book for children that teaches important lessons about the coronavirus.


The ten page downloadable coloring book explains how the virus is spread, the importance of washing hands, not touching your face, and social distancing.


St. Jude says the coloring book is also designed to provide children with "much-needed reassurance in a troubled time."

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has strengthened a stay-at-home order after initially resisting a statewide mandate, despite pleas from the medical community for stronger action to defeat the coronavirus outbreak.

The Republican governor said a recent uptick in “movement around the state” forced him to order individuals to avoid all non-essential travel until April 14. The first-term governor had only “strongly urged” people to stay at home previously.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- Health officials on Monday afternoon reported eight COVID-19 related deaths across Tennessee over the past 24 hours. The health crisis has now claimed 32 lives statewide.


There are now 2,845 confirmed coronavirus infections in Tennessee, up 162 cases in one day. A total of 263 individuals are hospitalized statewide. Some 220 Tennesseans have recovered from the illness.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Tennessee children forced out of school by the coronavirus pandemic will not be required to take the usual end-of-year standardized tests.

Earlier this week the state Department of Education received a waiver from the federal government eliminating “statewide assessment, accountability, and reporting requirements in ...Elementary and Secondary Education” for the current school year.

Nash. Dept. Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Metro Nashville has updated its emergency “Safer At Home” order and is threatening to force compliance.


The revised order adds to the list of non-essential businesses prohibited from operating during the pandemic. It also provides additional guidance for essential businesses that remain open.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Gov. Bill Lee promised more information Thursday about what he’s calling Tennessee’s health crisis “surge planning.”


Lee told reporters Wednesday the state expects the coronavirus outbreak to peak in Tennessee mid-April. The governor says plans are being drawn up for “thousands of additional hospital beds in every major city.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct decades ago has reversed course and says he will seek reelection after all.

In announcing his reelection bid Tuesday, Republican Rep. David Byrd did not mention the accusations of sexual misconduct by three women when he was their high school basketball coach and a teacher, before being elected.

He stressed the importance of having an experienced lawmaker during the coronavirus pandemic.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- Tennessee health officials reported one additional COVID-19 related death on Wednesday. Twenty-four patients have now died of coronavirus complications.

Officials said there are now 2,683 confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, up 444 cases in one day. There are 200 Tennesseans hospitalized. Some 137 residents have recovered from the illness.

Eighty-four of Tennessee’s 95 counties have now reported at least one case of COVID-19.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Lee has announced that Tennessee will soon release location information on where coronavirus deaths have occurred in the state after his administration initially declined to do so.

The Republican had been facing pressure to provide the county-level information as Tennessee's death toll from the virus climbed to 23 Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Lee said the state would list not only county information for COVID-19 deaths but also the number of negative tests on a county level.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Two-hundred Williamson County Medical Center workers out of a job beginning Wednesday morning.


WTVF-TV quotes hospital CEO Donald Webb saying the layoffs were prompted by the financial impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on the facility.


The cancelation of all elective medical procedures, a drop in patient visits, and the cost of additional measures to protect patients and staff have reportedly led to a drop in revenue.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- The Rutherford County Child Advocacy Center is out with ideas for helping your children understand and weather the pandemic.


First, stay calm yourself. Your children can sense your anxiety.


Second, answer their questions. Your reluctance to talk about the crisis will make them more anxious.


Third, be honest, but also make your explanations age appropriate.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- Tennessee health officials reported a startling jump in the number of COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday. Twenty-three patients have now died of coronavirus complications, up 10 fatalities in a single day.

Officials said there are now 2,239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, up 405 cases in one day. There are 175 Tennesseans hospitalized.

Nashville, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Pandemic related orders halting abortions, similar to a mandate issued by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, have been blocked by federal judges in three states.

Governors in Texas, Alabama and Ohio issued executive orders halting elective medical procedures in an effort to free up medical supplies for the fight against teh coronavirus.

Abortions were among the proceedures listed in the now blocked orders. Gov. Lee last week issued a similar executive order.

Mayor John Cooper (Twitter)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The American Red Cross has announced that it once again was extending the deadline for emergency financial help for Middle Tennessee residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed earlier this month by several deadly tornadoes.

The Red Cross said in a Monday news release that the new deadline to file an application for financial assistance is now April 7. The organization had previously announced it would extend the deadline to April 1.

John Prine

NEW YORK (AP) — John Prine was reported in stable condition Monday after being placed on a ventilator while being treated for COVID-19-type symptoms.

The update was shared on social media by Prine's wife and manager, Fiona Whelan Prine.

The singer-songwriter's family said Sunday that Prine was critically ill. Fiona Prine's message Monday on social media, suggested his condition had improved overnight.

Prine remains hospitalized.

News that his health was in jeopardy provoked an outpouring of affection for Prine.

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 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- Gov. Bill Lee on Monday ordered additional restrictions statewide in an attempt to slow the growth of coronavirus infections in Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Two of Nashville's long-postponed coronavirus drive-through assessment and testing sites are now operating, but health officials warn the sites are only open to those who have been pre-screened.


The sites are located at Nissan Stadium and Meharry Medical College. They will be open from 9 to 3 Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Testing is free and open to anyone regardless of immigration status.


Nash. Dept. Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- Metro health officials reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed during the 24 hours ending Monday morning, and health officials revealed the virus related death of a third city resident.

Nashville currently has 434 confirmed coronavirus infections. Fourteen individuals are hospitalized due to complications caused by COVID-19. Eighty city residents have now recovered from the illness. The new coronavirus victim is said to be a 59-year-old man.

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   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- State Health officials reported Sunday afternoon that the number of confirmed  COVID-19 infections in Tennessee currently stands at 1,537 cases, and mid-state media outlets report country artist Joe Diffie has died of coronavirus complications.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he expects a “significant increase” to unemployment payout amounts for people out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic because of congressional legislation.

Lee told reporters Friday he doesn't know the exact increase yet. He said Tennessee can expect $2 billion to $3 billion under the federal COVID-19 legislation, including the unemployment boost.

Tennessee's maximum weekly unemployment benefit is $275 before deduction of federal taxes.

Tenn. Dept. of Health

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   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  -- State Health officials reported Friday afternoon that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee rose by 246 infections over the past 24 hours, for a current total of 1,203 cases.