COVID-19 update: Statewide order to take effect tonight

As 80 percent of Tennessee counties have confirmed COVID-19 cases and the statewide tally nears 2,000, Gov. Bill Lee has ordered all nonessential businesses to close and urged all residents to stay home by the end of Tuesday. 

The move comes two weeks after Lee requested all school districts to close until April 24 and ordered restaurants, bars and gyms to close on March 22 until April 6. 

Metro continues to be under a safer-at-home order, has shut down all nonessential businesses, some parks facilities, restaurants, bars and gyms.

Metro officials have launched three assessment sites after the state’s Unified Command delivered 3,000 test kits over the weekend, and they've procured additional tests from private entities. The sites are located at Nissan Stadium, Meharry Medical College and the old K-Mart site on Murfreesboro Road and are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

More than 23,000 COVID-19 tests have been administered in Tennessee, about 8,000 of which have been conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. A broken supply chain put major delays on case reporting and labs are currently experiencing a backlog of tests needing to be processed. VUMC labs alone have a backlog of 1,900 tests.

Hospitals are beginning to see an uptick in COVID-19 patients and have increased inpatient capacity for a potential surge in patients needing hospitalization as experts predict the height of the pandemic to come in the next few weeks. 

LaunchTN, Leadership Middle Tennessee aggregating resources and help

• Launch Tennessee, the public-private partnership aimed at boosting entrepreneurship across the state, has teamed with a Knoxville startup to build a hub for various resources needed during this pandemic.

The Tennessee Innovation Crowdsource Platform uses technology from Vendor Registry and is aggregating ideas and energy aimed at areas of need such as health care demand management and planning and mental health as well as ways to produce and distribute medical materials such as masks, shields and testing kits.

The platform will let LaunchTN President and CEO Margaret Dolan and her team organize and evaluate proposals and make recommendations to Lee’s task force. 

• Leadership Middle Tennessee has launched “We Lead Through Helping Hands,” a push to deliver meals to nursing and other care personnel at one hospital in each of the region’s 10 counties.

The initiative got underway Sunday evening at Sumner Regional Medical Center, where LMT delivered 40 meals provided by the Hendersonville Demos’ restaurant. The next county in line is Montgomery.

“As I watch these great leaders that make up the over 500 participants over program’s 20 years, I am honored and humbled to see how they pull together as a group,” Lee Rucks, president of Leadership Middle Tennessee. “We are all in this together.”The organization is collecting funds via this link. 

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