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Mayor John Cooper, Dr. Michael Caldwell, Dr. Alex Jahangir and Dr. John Dunn Announce Nashville’s First Presumptive Case of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

3/8/2020
Brian Todd, 615-240-2153

Mayor John Cooper joined Board of Health Chairman Alex Jahangir, Director of Health Dr. Michael Caldwell, and Dr. John Dunn, Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) State Epidemiologist, to announce Nashville’s first presumptive case of coronavirus COVID-19. A laboratory test conducted by TDH produced the positive result.  Further confirmation testing will be done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MPHD and TDH health officials expect to see additional positive cases as testing increases. 

The presumptive case is an adult female resident of Nashville.  She has mild illness and is isolated at home.  The source of her exposure is unknown at this time and is being investigated.

“A community response requires us all to listen to our healthcare experts and take commonsense precautions to protect each other to prevent the further spread of this disease,” Cooper said. “I want to assure all Nashvillians that Metro has prepared for a COVID-19 confirmation in Davidson County, and a comprehensive monitoring and response plan is under way.”

“Today, Nashville joins a growing list of cities in announcing our first presumptive coronavirus COVID-19 case,” Caldwell said.  “I know this news can be alarming, but our guidance for the community remains the same. Everyone can do their part to help by remaining informed and continuing to take routine health precautions.”

The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 are to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash. If tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Health Department officials also ask the community to find ways to greet each other besides shaking hands, such as elbow bumps.

While a large majority of cases of COVID-19 are believed to be mild, the virus can be a very serious infection that can lead to hospitalization and death, especially in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, including compromised immune systems.

Protecting the health of Davidson County is our top priority. MPHD officials are working to identify people who may have had close contact with the confirmed case. Close contacts may include family members, co-workers, healthcare providers, and others. Health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), our healthcare system partners and many others to contact these people and ensure that appropriate protocols are followed.

MPHD and TDH officials are in the early stages of this investigation and new details and information will likely emerge over the coming days and weeks. Additional information will be released once new details have been confirmed.

Anyone who feels they need to seek medical care should be sure to contact their medical provider in advance with their concerns, to ensure the provider is forewarned of their arrival.

The Tennessee Department of Health now offers a Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line at 877-857-2945.  The information line is available daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Time. 

For more information about COVID-19 visit covid19.nashville.gov, the Tennessee Department of Health at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html.  CDC has updated information and guidance available online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.