Note: This story was last updated at 7:10 p.m.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee declared a state of emergency to help treat and contain COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus, and the first case has been diagnosed in Knox County.
The Knox County patient was exposed overseas and is an isolated case. The person has been in isolation and has not required hospitalization, according to the Knox County Health Department.
It’s a presumptive positive case, and local and state officials are waiting for confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Following standard public health protocols for infectious disease response, Knox County Health Department said its epidemiologists will work with the Tennessee Department of Health and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contact and monitor anyone who may have been exposed to this isolated case. Eighteen cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Health, but it is not currently widespread in Knox County or the state.
“We understand the concern surrounding COVID-19, but we hope Knox County citizens can take some comfort in the fact that we were expecting a case, and that we routinely utilize extensive plans and national best practice to respond to all reportable infectious diseases in Knox County,” said KCHD Senior Director Dr. Martha Buchanan. “The most important thing the public can do is to follow the CDC guidance, which includes the standard hygiene practices we recommend to prevent the spread of flu and other viruses.”[Read more…]