Medicine and Health

Gov. Bill Lee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  County mayors across Tennessee now have the power to require residents to wear masks in public as the health crisis worsens.

Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 on Friday granting mayors that authority. The governor announced the change on Twitter over the weekend saying local governments were asking him to make the option available.

Nashville, Knoxville and Metro Memphis have already issued mandatory mask orders through their county health departments.


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Ashley Norman)  --  Daily COVID-19 case counts have nearly quadrupled in Davidson and Rutherford counties in the last six weeks, an analysis of Tennessee Department of Health data shows.

Dr. Ken Blake, an MTSU data journalism professor who has been tracking local COVID-19 numbers, said the counties’ sharp upward trends of daily cases and positivity rates appear alarmingly similar to the rapid case spikes in current COVID-19 hotspots around the country.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville health officials say it's no mystery what led to the COVID-19 spike forcing the city to roll back its economic recovery plan.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Metro Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. James Hildreth was blunt, saying “What’s happening is a failure of responsibility.”

Hildreth urged Nashville residents to be diligent about social distancing, hand washing and wearing masks in public.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville is again shuttering some parts of its economy in response to a recent spike in cases of COVID-19.

Mayor John Cooper announced the reversal Thursday morning as the city recorded 608 new infections over the previous 24 hours, the all-time highest one-day count in Metro since the pandemic began.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville Police will initially give Metro residents a pass on the new mandatory face mask requirement.

The new Health Department order requiring a face mask be worn in most public settings went into effect on Sunday.

Violations carry Class C misdemeanor punishments. That means a $50 fine or 30 days in jail.

However, Metro Police say they’ll be issuing citizen advisories “until further notice.” Residents caught without a mask will get a printed advisory and a warning.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Your supplemental jobless benefits will soon end, if you’re among the 266,000 Tennesseans currently receiving $600 a week federal unemployment payments.

Beneficiaries may be aware that the CARES Act passed by Congress authorizes jobless benefits through the end of July. But the State of Tennessee will stop paying out the supplemental, federal unemployment aid on July 25th.

You will not receive aid for the last six days in July.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Predictions made last month by a Vanderbilt researcher about what would happen when Gov. Bill Lee allowed the Tennessee economy to reopen now sound prophetic.

Consumer behaviorist Dr. Kelly Goldsmith made her predictions just days after Gov. Lee allowed his statewide shelter at home order to expire. She said then “my fear is that when these restrictions start to lift, people just aren’t going to be able to control themselves.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has once again extended the state of emergency for another two months as the state continues to see large jumps in people testing positive for COVID-19.


Lee, a Republican, initially imposed the state of emergency on March 12 in order to free up funding and relax rules regarding the treatment and containment of COVID-19. It was set to expire June 30 after he first extended the declaration in May.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is urging President Donald Trump to wear a mask in public as the number of COVID-19 cases surge nationwide.

CNN quotes the Republican Senator on Sunday saying health experts now agree wearing a mask can be helpful in containing the infection.

Alexander went on to say “it would help if from time to time the President would wear one to help us get rid of this political debate that says if you're for Trump, you don't wear a mask, if you're against Trump, you do."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville issued a mandatory health order on Sunday requiring residents to wear a mask in public.

The order comes in response to a sharp rise in new cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks. The city set a grim record on Saturday with an all-time high 350 new infections reported in 24 hours.

The order runs six pages long, with much of its wording devoted to where and when masks are not required.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Federal officials have reached a resolution with Tennessee over complaints filed by disability advocates.


The Chattanooga Time Free Press reports the advocates were concerned that people with disabilities could be denied life-saving treatment like ventilators because of the coronavirus crisis.


They raised the issue in March after discovering a 2016 state document called “Guidelines for the Ethical Allocation of Scarce Resources."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Nashville's new mandatory mask order is now in effect. You can see the updated story here.  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Nashville Department of Health will issue a mandatory order requiring that every resident wear a mask in public by Sunday evening.

Tenn. Dept. of Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The state Commissioner of Health said Tuesday that the way most Tennesseans become infected with coronavirus is changing. 

Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey told reporters during a Tuesday press briefing that virus transmission via so-called “community spread” is growing across Tennessee. Community spread refers to cases where the infected individual cannot identify where they came in contact with the virus.

Tennessee's COVID-19 patients are getting younger

Jun 23, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee appears to be matching a national trend toward more COVID-19 cases among younger patients.

Infection rates have climbed five percent since March in Tennessee children ten years old and under. Confirmed cases among the state’s teens have risen four percent since April. Infections among young adults 31 to 40 years of age are also up four percent over three months.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville health officials have cited eight more businesses for failing to comply with pandemic response restrictions.

Metro Health says it received 310 complaints from the public about social distancing infractions in the past week. Most complaints were for employees failing to wear a mask.

In the previous week, 14 businesses were cited for non-compliance. Four Metro bars also had their liquor licenses suspended for five days.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee is one of more than 20 states experiencing a spike in new cases of COVID-19.

The number of new cases reported statewide spiked on Friday to an all-time high of 1188 confirmed infections in 24 hours. The state’s current four day running average of new cases currently stands at a record high 740 positive test results per day.

Nashville Dept. Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  A new study by Vanderbilt Medical Center confirms that Metro’s minority communities are being disproportionately impacted by coronavirus.

The study, released Wednesday, is based on data from more than 18,000 patient COVID-19 tests administered by Vanderbilt since the pandemic began.

Tenn. Dept. of Health

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt University researchers say the number of COVID-19 patients in Tennessee hospitals has reached its highest level at more than 400, but the increase has not put acute strain on the state’s hospital system.

A report from the Nashville-based university’s hospital and medical school said increases in hospitalizations in June were mostly concentrated in the Memphis area and southeast Tennessee, including Chattanooga.

Tenn. Dept. of Health

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The third week in June got off to a rocky start as Tennessee struggles to fend off an uptick in new cases of coronavirus.

State health officials on Monday reported an unusually high 728 new cases of the virus during the previous 24 hours.

The four day running average of new infections reported by the state currently stands at 705 cases. Compare that to one week ago when the four day average stood at 456 cases.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  The Red Cross is offering to test for COVID-19 antibodies in exchange for blood donations.

The agency stresses the antibody test does not indicate whether you currently have the illness. It will indicate only if you have previously contracted the virus and developed antibodies in response to the infection.

The Red Cross is also stressing that prospective donors should not attempt to donate blood if they are currently feeling unwell.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Nashville Mayor John Cooper is again postponing transition to Phase Three of the city’s Roadmap to Reopening, thanks to an ongoing surge in the number of new cases of COVID-19.

Mayor Cooper reported 300 confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, the largest single one-day jump since the pandemic began in March. However, the mayor was quick to point out that 200 of those new COVID-19 infection results were for individuals who were tested last week.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he isn’t especially concerned about the statewide surge in new cases of COVID-19.

The state’s four day running average of confirmed infections is up roughly 44 percent since the first week of May.

Gov. Lee told reporters yesterday the uptick in new cases was expected once he began lifting pandemic related restrictions at the end of April.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee nursing homes will be permitted to open their doors to visitors on Monday, as long as they follow strict state visitation guidelines.

Nursing homes and long term care facilities have been locked down statewide since March in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Better than one-third of Tennessee’s 436 COVID-19 related deaths have taken place in nursing facilities.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Tennessee is one of 14 states recording “their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases,” according to a study released Monday by the Washington Post.

The number of new cases confirmed by state health officials has been rising steadily since the first May.

The running average of new cases reported across Tennessee on Monday, June 8, was 456 new infections per day. That represents a 51 percent increase over the previous four weeks.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne)  --  Vanderbilt University Medical Center has seen an uptick in the number of injured children seeking treatment.

In a press statement released this week, doctors revealed the numbers and types of injuries they’re seeing are more typical of summer months. They suspect the uptick is related to children being out of school early and sheltering at home.

Dr. Harold Lovvorn III heads Pediatric Trauma at VUMC.