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Coronavirus tests are here
Dale Humphrey CEO of River Park.jpg

With 18 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tennessee, now there’s a way to test for the virus in Warren County.

Saint Thomas River Park CEO Dale Humphrey confirms the local hospital does have coronavirus test kits on hand for people showing signs of the illness.

“We do have testing kits here,” said Humphrey. “They aren’t used unless a patient meets the specific criteria and not for people wanting to rule it out.”

Humphrey says the specific criteria includes fever and respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath. Also considered is whether the person has traveled to an affected area in the past 14 days, according to the CDC’s geographic list, or has had close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of coronavirus.

On Thursday, Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency in Tennessee to facilitate the treatment and containment of coronavirus. This state of emergency will provide for more testing sites among its 14 provisions.

Cancellations have become common with several universities in Tennessee announcing classes will be conducted online only. Warren County Director of Schools Bobby Cox says local officials are closely monitoring the situation and staying in contact with the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC.

“With no confirmed illnesses in Warren County, I see no reason for us to close schools and no one has notified us of a reason to close,” said Cox. “We’ve been in meetings and we have a contingency plan in place. We hope we don’t have to use it.”

As part of that contingency plan, students with Chromebooks will be allowed to take them home over Spring Break instead of having them collected, as is the normal procedure. The Chromebooks will be a way of delivering instruction if needed.

All students in eighth grade or higher have a school-issued Chrome-book. Spring Break is next week and Warren County Schools will not be is session.

“If they don’t have a Chromebook but have internet access at their home, we could deliver instruction through another device,” said Cox.

The school system is also preparing to provide food service in the event schools are out for an extended period. Cox said food would likely be prepared in one or two cafeterias and delivered to other schools by school bus where it could be picked up by students.

“Regardless of if we’re in school, people need to eat,” said Cox.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology said Thursday classes will continue as usual in McMinnville until a coronavirus case is confirmed on campus or in Warren County.

Three Star Cinema says it will continue with its regular movie schedule this weekend. WCHS sporting events will continue as scheduled unless other notification is given.

On Thursday, Gov. Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 14 declaring a state of emergency in Tennessee due to coronavirus, COVID-19. 

“Today’s action will move us into position to utilize additional emergency funds as needed and relax provisions of certain laws to provide the flexibility needed to respond to this disease,” said Gov. Lee. “While the risk to the general public remains low, we encourage all Tennesseans to exercise caution and maintain good hygiene practices as there are serious risks to our vulnerable populations. We will continue to evaluate and adapt our position accordingly to fit what we believe is best for Tennesseans.”

Executive Order 14 looks to treat and contain COVID-19. 

To achieve these goals, the order:

• Implements the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan

• Permits healthcare professionals licensed in other states to provide healthcare services in Tennessee related to COVID-19

• Allows pharmacists to dispense an extra 30-day supply of maintenance prescriptions as needed in response to COVID-19

• Allows healthcare professionals to provide localized treatment to patients in temporary residences

• Expands testing sites for COVID-19

• Allows the construction of temporary healthcare structures in response to COVID-19

• Implements price gouging protections on medical and emergency supplies

• Suspends restrictions on vehicles transporting emergency supplies to areas affected by COVID-19

• Permits the waiver of certain regulations on childcare centers as needed to respond to the effect of COVID-19

• Authorizes TennCare policy changes to ensure that covered individuals receive medically necessary services without disruption

• Directs coordination with health insurance plans to improve access to screening, testing, and treatment for COVID-19.