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TSD COVID-19 Flash! — Numbers, child care for essential workers, care calls, music vibe: ‘Tennessee’

Health Department COVID-19 Daily Update: April 20, 2020

Shelby County currently has 1807 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The total number of deaths in Shelby County attributed to COVID-19 is 38.

Shelby County COVID-29 Cases by Race and Ethnicity as of 4/19/20

Data Source: National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)

(For more information, visit the Shelby County Health Department COVID-19 webpage: www.shelbytnhealth.com/coronavirus.)

Tennessee: Weekend COVID-19 testing exceeds projected numbers

(TSD Newsroom) — NASHVILLE –Governor Bill Lee on Monday announced more than 11,000 Tennesseans received free COVID-19 tests through the weekend efforts of Unified-Command Group to offer tests regardless of traditional symptoms.

The Unified-Command Group is a joint partnership between the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Military and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA).

Gov. Bill Lee during a COVID-19 update visit to Memphis. (Photo: Screen capture)

“While demand exceeded original projections, our Unified-Command group adapted quickly this weekend so that individuals who needed tests could receive them,” said Lee.

Saturday turnout was the largest with more than 6,500 samples taken from 22 sites across all three grand divisions of the state.  Tennessee Department of Health personnel and Soldiers and Airmen of the Tennessee National Guard operated 19 sites, four more than originally planned, to meet the testing demand.

The additional sites were opened in coordination with city and county officials to meet demand based on local needs. Hours were extended to ensure all participants received a test.

Sunday testing turnout exceeded expectations with more than 4,600 tests collected across 11 sites. On both days, many Tennesseans drove to sites outside their county of residence to obtain a test from a neighboring county that operated a weekend site.

“Since Gov. Lee’s expanded testing initiative announcement last week, we continue to see an increase in the number of citizens who want to be tested whether it’s on a weekday or weekend and regardless of symptoms,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey.

Expanded testing will continue for the next two weekends, April 25-26 and May 2-3. A full list of sites can be accessed here. In addition to drive-through sites, all rural county health departments across the state offer free COVID-19 testing 5 days a week.

Tennessee offering essential workers free child care

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee is offering free child care to essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services says the offer involves payment assistance and a network of temporary care locations to offer the free care through June 15.

The department will arrange payments for care with licensed programs once workers are approved for the initiative. Eligible workers can apply online.

Essential workers with school-aged children can also register at one of the temporary and emergency child care locations set up by the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee. Parents seeking care at the temporary locations do not need to apply with the state first.

Eligible essential workers include employees of a health care entity, law enforcement, first responders, corrections officers, military, activated National Guard, human and social services workers, postal workers, transportation employees, restaurant workers or grocery workers.

Tennessee bar exam applicants will have additional test date

NASHVILLE  (AP) — Applicants for the Tennessee bar exam will have an additional opportunity to take the test this year.

The test will be given July 29 and 30 as scheduled, and the Board of Law Examiners also will offer an examination on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the state Supreme Court said.

Anyone who applied for the July exam will be able to switch to the October session, the court said in a news release. The July exam will be given in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, while the October exam will be offered only in Knoxville.

Adding an additional exam gives flexibility to maximize space between test-takers and provides a backup in case the state remains under “safer at home” orders, said Bill Harbison, president of the Board of Law Examiners.

The initial deadline for applications is May 1 and the final deadline is May 20.

State launches care through conversation program

 (TSD Newsroom) – Today, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability announced a new support program to help the state’s older adults who are facing social isolation and food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Care Through Conversation program will help ensure the needs of older adults are met through a regularly scheduled telephone call during which a volunteer will conduct a needs assessment coupled with warm conversation to guarantee the participant is safe both mentally and physically. At minimum, volunteers will conduct one call a week, but additional calls can be requested.

“In our experience, a regular check-in from a volunteer can help make sure that older adults have all they need at home – food in the refrigerator and pantry, prescriptions in the medicine chest and kind words from a friend on the telephone,” said Jim Shulman, executive director of TCAD.

Volunteers will go through a background check and be provided training materials with conversational ques and instructions on how to handle common situations.

To register someone who could benefit from a Care Through Conversation phone call,  click here or call 615-253-4307.

Tennessee truck fire ruined N95 masks, medical gowns

CARTHAGE, Tenn. (AP) — A truckload of medical masks and protective surgical gowns were destroyed when a tractor-trailer caught fire on a highway in Tennessee, news outlets reported.

First responders told WKRN-TV at the scene in Smith County Saturday that N95 masks and special hospital gowns were among the items ruined.

Shortages of these masks, which filter out 95% of all airborne particles, have created high demand among medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. It was unclear where the shipment was headed.

Photos posted by news outlets on social media showed the frame of the charred vehicle smoking, with dozens of cardboard boxes strewn along the road reportedly carrying the masks. Green bundles that appeared to be surgical gowns were pictured laying in the wreckage.

The fire started in a rear wheel and spread, officials told news outlets. The driver was not seriously injured, authorities said.

Today’s TSD Music Vibe: “Tennessee” by Arrested Development

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