Coronavirus, News

Coronavirus: The latest local updates, cancellations, resources, + more

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There are more chances to get tested for COVID-19. I Image via the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Major Local Announcements

Our #MustDo section is now dedicated to coronavirus coverage. For the foreseeable future, we will use this space to give our readers local updates on the coronavirus. We look forward to bringing you Chattanooga’s #MustDo events again soon.

A sewage study conducted by Biobot Analytics + the City of Chattanooga found that there are possibly thousands more COVID-19 cases in the city than reported. The city’s wastewater treatment center has been sending samples to Biobot, and traces of the virus can be found in the wastewater. On July 21, the health department reported 4,461 confirmed cases, and Biobot found 8,200. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The SEC will require football players + those in direct contact with them to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week during the upcoming season. Coaches, staff, and personnel will be required to wear face coverings while on the sidelines. These rules apply to soccer and volleyball as well. (NewsChannel 9)

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, Publix now requires customers to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside the store. Learn more about the mandate here. 😷 

Hamilton County Health Department officials said that people who attended the Windy Gap Young Life Camp, 120 Coles Cove Rd, Weaverville, NC between July 24 and July 31 may have been exposed to COVID-19. Case investigations revealed that persons from Hamilton County attended the camp while in their infectious period. It is recommended that anyone who attended this camp during these dates get tested + monitor their symptoms.

More COVID-19 cases are being traced in nearby rural communities, while Chattanooga and Hamilton County saw a decrease in cases over the past week. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said the state’s COVID-19 numbers are getting better but are still concerning. (News Channel 9

A state Supreme Court ruling means that Tennessee will be one of a handful of states not offering by-mail voting for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some coronavirus-related exemptions. For example, exposure-based quarantining, caretaking and underlying health conditions may be reasons you’re allowed to vote via mail. If you’re looking for another way to vote via mail, check this out. (WRCB)

Hamilton County Health Department officials announced a COVID-19 exposure at the Lincoln Day Dinner event, which took place Friday, July 31, at the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St. Case investigations revealed that a person attended the event while in their infectious period. It is recommended that anyone who attended this event get tested and monitor their symptoms.

Some schools in the area are requiring that students have negative COVID-19 tests before entering the classroom, including Baylor and McCallie. UTC is not requiring students to get tested before classes start, citing research from Johns Hopkins that a “negative test is not a good indicator of a person’s medical status.” (NewsChannel 9)

The town of Signal Mountain is closing its pool for the remainder of summer after a lifeguard at the pool tested positive for COVID-19. According to a post on social media, the lifeguard worked most recently this last Wednesday and Saturday during the morning sessions. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

On Monday, the Hamilton County Health Department reported 52 new Coronavirus cases and deaths remained at 48 in the county. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is now up to 37, with 86 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized. (Chattanoogan.com)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee called for the Tennessee General Assembly to meet on Aug. 10 for a special session to address COVID-19 liability protections, telehealth services, and laws governing the Capitol grounds. The session will address extending COVID-19 liability protections to provide legal clarity for health care providers, businesses, schools, and nonprofits

Hamilton County is currently seeing the highest number of COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care. On Aug. 3, the Hamilton County Health Department reported that 35 people were in the ICU with COVID-19, and that the county’s seven-day average is at a new high of 30. This does come as new COVID-19 cases are falling, with 44 new cases reported on Monday. (NewsChannel 9)

Health experts, including CHI Memorial Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Mark Anderson, are warning citizens about superspreading events, where a single person can infect a large number of people with COVID-19 in one setting. A superspreader can transmit the virus to between 10 and 20 people, and potentially more, at one gathering. Dr. Anderson and other experts believe superspreading events drive most COVID-19 spread, and precautions like masking + social distancing will work to get the virus under control. (NewsChannel 9)

According to the state health department, 93 of the 95  Tennessee counties have unacceptable COVID-19 transmission rates. As of the morning of Aug. 3, there are about 40,000 active coronavirus cases in the state, and of Tennessee’s total number of 109,627 cases, 60% have come in the last four weeks. (NewsChannel 9)

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced that organized, contact sports in K-12 public + private schools can resume now, as long as everyone follows TSSAA requirements. Non-school sponsored athletes must also follow Tennessee Pledge Guidelines. Those guidelines can be found on Hamilton County’s website.

According to a recent 44-state study by researchers from Harvard, Northeastern, Northwestern, and Rutgers universities, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is seeing drops in how constituents view his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study shows approval of Lee’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis fell from 62% in late April to 44% this month, with a margin of error of plus or minus six percentage points. (Chattanooga times Free Press)

The United States government will pay up to $2.1 billion to pharma giants GlaxoSmithKline + Sanofi Pasteur for “development including clinical trials, manufacturing, scale-up and delivery” of their COVID-19 vaccine. This action is a means to increase the odds of having at least one safe and effective vaccine by the end of the year. (NewsChannel 9)

Check out this “Ask a Doctor” article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press to read what to know about asthma and face masks. According to Dr. Susan Raschal, anyone with stable asthma who is not experiencing an exacerbation does not have a facial deformity, does not have sensory processing issues, and is over two years old should be wearing face masks at this time. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The National Institutes of Health recently said that an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, that was tested on monkeys yielded no replicating virus in the lungs of 87.5% of the monkeys that were vaccinated + then exposed to COVID-19 in the nose and lungs. The vaccinated monkeys produced neutralizing antibodies that were at levels higher than those found in recovered COVID-19 patients. (NewsChannel 9)

The Tennessee Health Department recently revealed data that shows 80% of the people contracting and transmitting COVID-19 are under 60 years old, while 80% of those dying from COVID-19 are over 60 years old. The average age of someone with the virus is 38, and the average age of someone dying with the disease is 74. (NewsChannel 9)

Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III says mask mandates are legally defensible. Slatery equates mask mandates to seat belt laws + helmet requirements for motorcyclists. Read more about Slatery’s views on mask mandates here. (WRCB)

On July 27, Hamilton County Schools shared a post on their Facebook page explaining why they will not require students in kindergarten, first, or second grade to wear face masks while sitting in class. The post shared that medical experts advised the county that students of that age are often prone to touching and playing with masks, which could create a more significant challenge than not wearing a mask entirely. (NewsChannel 9)

Are you wondering what, exactly, is contact tracing? Check out this “Ask a Doctor” article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press about what contact tracing is and the steps that are involved within the contact tracing process. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The Trump administration recently signed a contract with pharmaceutical company Pfizer to pay nearly $2 billion for a December delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that they are currently working on. The agreement is a part of President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, which aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe + effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

After gaining new evidence from the CDC, the Hamilton County Health Department will now end the isolation period for most adults sick with COVID-19 10 days (previously 14) after symptom onset if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication + other symptoms have improved. For those who never developed symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be stopped 10 days after their first positive RT-PCR test was collected.

Researchers at Brigham Young University released a report showing that cloth masks do, in fact, help combat the spread of coronavirus. After reviewing over 100 different scientific studies on the virus assembled by various independent groups worldwide, the report found that cloth masks undoubtedly reduce virus spread by blocking 90% of the wearer’s respiratory droplets. 😷 (NewsChannel 9)

With the first day back for Hamilton County Schools rapidly approaching, teachers are figuring out how to safely set up their classrooms amid the pandemic. Tammy Martin, a third-grade teacher at Barger Academy, has spent $400 out of pocket on replacing tables with desks and setting up partitions + sanitizing stations in her classroom. Read more about what teachers are doing to prepare for a safe school year here. (NewsChannel 9)

As COVID-19 cases increase and more businesses start to require masks, it can be difficult to keep track of which ones do + don’t. Hamilton County has been under a mask mandate since July 10, but big companies like Walmart are starting to issue their own mask requirements in their stores countrywide. Click here for a list of big name stores requiring masks. (WRCB)

The city of Chattanooga is lending two code enforcement workers to assist the Hamilton County Health Department in issuing citations to businesses for mask directive violations. These code enforcement inspectors — who will only have jurisdiction within city limits — are written into the City Charter and have powers as special police officers to inspect structures within the city and issue fees + citations if out of compliance.

On July 14, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said that he is not considering closing any businesses or mandating masks throughout the state. Lee said that the hospitalization rate remains relatively stable, which is a reason why he is not considering either of the two options at this time. (NewsChannel 9)

Now that face masks have been mandated in Hamilton County, check out this “Mask 101” article that covers how to wear + clean your face masks effectively. The article discusses ensuring that you wear your mask over your nose and mouth, only handling the mask by the straps, and making sure that it doesn’t gape around the sides. You can clean your mask by washing it in the laundry or soaking it in a bleach solution and rinsing it. (WRCB)

The Hamilton County Health Department shared this infographic to help answer common questions about the recent Hamilton County mask mandate. Read the official mandate here and call (423) 289-8383 with more specific questions.

COVID-19 is compounding racial disparities in Chattanooga and throughout the US. Some Chattanooga zip codes representing the most diverse parts of the city rank among the lowest in the state for health outcomes. Read more here. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

As Hamilton County’s mask mandate began last Friday, Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy said that his officers would not issue citations to people who do not comply with the mandate. Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond said that his office will be enforcing the mandate, which you can read here.

Starting on Friday, July 10, Hamilton County citizens will be required to wear face masks in public due to the recent mandate from county Mayor Jim Coppinger. Check out this list of 14 reasons why wearing a mask is important and why the mandate happened.

The Hamilton County Health Department released the official guidelines of the mandated mask executive order issued July 6 by Mayor Jim Coppinger on its website. The order goes into effect Friday, July 10 at 12:01 a.m. Exemptions include children under 12, people with intellectual disabilities, and deaf or hard of hearing people. We wrote on Monday that you don’t have to wear a mask while driving, but that’s not true in every situation. For example, you must wear it if you are driving coworkers. For the full directive, click here.

Effective on July 10 via Directive No. 1 of the Hamilton County Health Officer, all businesses must post signage in a visible place that reminds customers to wear facial coverings. Sample signs are available here via the Health Department’s print resources page.

In Hamilton County, June was the deadliest month for COVID-19 since the virus was first reported in the area — COVID-19-related deaths in the county almost doubled. The total number of coronavirus cases more than doubled in June, rising from 1,132 to 2,525. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

○ Gov. Bill Lee announced he’s extending the State of Emergency related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to August 29. The order limits gatherings to 50 people unless six feet can be maintained between people. It also urges people to stay home whenever possible and wear masks when out. The state’s order doesn’t require masks, but with local numbers increasing, Mayor Andy Berke is looking to get approval from the state to mandate masks. 

Nonprofit blood center Blood Assurance has begun offering COVID-19 antibody testing to blood donors. This test can not diagnose a person with COVID-19, but can inform you if you have had (or could possibly have) coronavirus and developed antibodies to the virus.

Gov. Bill Lee’s Economic Recovery Group recently announced the creation of the TN Strong Mask Movement. They are partnering with over 30 brands to distribute around 300,000 free or low-cost masks. 

The United States’ first experimental COVID-19 vaccine is currently on track to begin a large study next month to prove if it can fight the coronavirus. The vaccine is being developed by Moderna Inc. + the National Institutes of Health and will be tested on 30,000 people in the U.S. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

On June 4, Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group issued updated guidelines for close contact service businesses, exercise facilities, and recreation activities under the Tennessee Pledge. The group also said that large community events — like fairs, festivals, expos, and parades — may now take place with social distancing guidelines. 

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced additional reopening guidelines for swimming pools + day camps. The additional guidance is based on Gov. Bill Lee’s Tennessee Pledge. The new guidelines are posted on Hamilton County’s website and the state of Tennessee’s website.

Children will not be required to wear masks at the county school system’s child care locations this summer. Officials said they are aiming to follow CDC guidelines, which includes children wearing masks, but that it was unrealistic to expect young children to keep them on all day properly. (Chattanooga Times Free Press

Tennessee driver’s license offices’ new rules require customers to follow standard precautions like wearing masks and checking temperatures. A complete list of changes can be found here. (WRCB)

Chattanooga native Dr. Davey Smith is leading a National Institutes of Health clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment. The purpose of the study is to determine if anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, alongside antibiotic azithromycin, is effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalization and death. (NewsChannel 9)

According to WalletHub’s recent Coronavirus Shopping Survey, about 58 million Americans are spending more money while social distancing. The survey also shows that 43% of Americans have started “comfort buying” during the pandemic and that the top three nonessential purchases during the pandemic have been forms of entertainment, alcohol, and clothing. 

Ways to Stay Updated

Check out this article from the Times Free Press to get a glimpse of what it’s like for Chattanooga nurses to treat COVID-19 patients. The article shares what a day looks like for these nurses, misconceptions about the virus, and how the hospitals have learned to care for COVID-19 patients. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Check out this article from the Times Free Press with health officer Dr. Paul Hendricks from the Hamilton County Health Department, who answered several questions about COVID-19. You can watch the full video with Dr. Hendricks or scroll down to read the question and answer portion. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

You can stay updated on Hamilton County’s COVID-19 positive, negative, and total number of tests via the county health department’s website. The site also includes the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the county + demographic details about those who have been tested.

Unacast, a human mobility data company, recently created a Social Distancing Scoreboard that is updated daily to measure + understand the efficacy of social distancing initiatives in each county and state. The data is measured by each county’s percent change in average distance traveled, percent change in non-essential visitation, and decrease in human encounters. Find Hamilton County’s Social Distancing Scoreboard here.

UTC’s interdisciplinary geospatial technology lab has created a regional Covid-19 dashboard that identifies the number of confirmed cases, deaths, and hospital beds across the greater Chattanooga region. You can stay updated on all of this information via the dashboard found here.

How to Stay Safe + Do Your Part

The Hamilton County Health Department announced a new COVID-19 testing location at Alstom Plant (1119 Riverfront Pkwy.). Testing at the new site began Monday and will run daily through the end of September from 7-11 a.m. The health department will no longer be testing at schools as the new school year begins. The health department also said that moving forward, test results will be available between 24-48 hours after testing.

The Hamilton County Health Department reminded those who are getting tested for COVID-19 to provide a current and working telephone number so that you can receive results. If you have tested positive for the virus, the health department will conduct contact tracing in order to determine who has been exposed to you + inform them that they have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient. 

Wearing a face mask in the summer heat can be uncomfortable at first, but it’s possible to make it comfortable. The CDC recommends masks made of breathable material like woven cotton sheets or T-shirt fabric in light shades that won’t absorb the sun’s heat. Another recommendation is bringing extra masks if planning on being out in public for an extended period of time. For more advice, click here. (NewsChannel 9)

The Hamilton County Health Department is encouraging county residents to continue wearing face masks as COVID-19 cases continue to grow. As of June 17, the health department has distributed 146,401 face masks to the public and has 51,599 remaining for free distribution. You can pick up a face mask at the entrances of the Hamilton County courthouse (600 Market St.) or at the 3rd street health department building.

If you’re wondering how to best keep safe during COVID-19 as businesses continue reopening, associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Erin Bromage offered tips via this Times Free Press article. Bromage discusses masks, whether it is safe to return to restaurants and gyms, and if you should wipe down groceries + sanitize mail. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The CDC recently released information about how to use hand sanitizer effectively when you don’t have access to soap + water to wash your hands. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol and rubbing it between your hands for at least 30 seconds until all of the gel is dry. (NewsChannel 9

○ The American Red Cross has offered several tips to stay safe + healthy while celebrating July 4 as the pandemic continues. The tips include staying six feet apart from people, wearing face masks or facial coverings, and avoiding crowds and large gatherings. The Red Cross also recommends general safety precautions such as keeping fireworks away from children, only lighting one firework at a time, and never grilling indoors. You can find more safety tips here.

For updated information on COVID-19 testing sites and events in Hamilton County that are affiliated with the Health Department, click here. The list will be updated daily as needed with free testing sites and pop-up testing events.

If somebody in your family recently tested positive for COVID-19, this article written by health officer for the Hamilton County Health Department Dr. Paul Hendricks provides information on how to safely care for them at home. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Erlanger Health System, CHI Memorial Hospital, Parkridge Health System, and the Medical Society of Chattanooga & Hamilton County released a joint PSA encouraging businesses + community members to continue following governmental requirements and CDC guidelines as our region begins to reopen. Read it here.

Hamilton County Health Department officials and the CDC have provided tips on wearing face masks, including who should wear them, why someone should, and where they should be worn. Click here for more information on wearing face masks. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

○ If your facemask is fogging up your glasses, there’s a quick fix for that. You just need to wash them with soapy water, according to a report from Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. That’s some news you can use, right there. (WRCB

○ As some businesses and other organizations reopen, Tennessee American Water is providing information about steps to take to make sure water systems + equipment are working properly. Extended periods of inactivity can cause lead leaching or legionella growth and locals should take steps to help minimize potential exposure to both these contaminants. There’s more information here

The CDC is advising caregivers of those who have been infected with COVID-19 not to shake clothing, towels, or linens, in addition to wearing disposable gloves while washing items that have been in contact with someone who is infected.  make sure items are completely dry after washing them, disinfect clothes hampers + wash their hands. (NewsChannel 9)

The CDC recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing is difficult. You can make your own face covering at home with a bandana, scarf or t-shirt and two rubber bands. Watch this video from the CDC to learn how to make it. (The Pulse

How to Help

If you had COVID-19 and have fully recovered, you could help patients who are currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Bodies that have fought the infection now have COVID-19 antibodies in their plasma, which provides a way for immune systems to fight the virus. Learn more here

The Chattanooga Salvation Army has opened a shelter for homeless COVID-19 patients that will offer patients with minor symptoms a place to stay and rest. The Hamilton County Health Department will make daily medical checks and have also provided personal protective equipment for Salvation Army workers. If you would like to donate to the Salvation Army, you can do so here. (WDEF)

Coronavirus closures have significantly hurt the Tennessee Aquarium, costing the popular Chattanooga attraction about 90% of its revenue.  But the local attraction can reopen after May 22 under Gov. Bill Lee’s guidelines. It will reopen at limited capacity by mid-June. After reopening, revenue is expected to be a third of what it had been. You can donate to the aquarium here. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)(Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Double Cola Co. is raising money for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, which anticipates an additional monthly cost of $100,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally based Double Cola will do a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $10,000 in funds raised for the local nonprofit. That gift is the equivalent of 80,000 meals. To help Double Cola reach its goal, visit the fundraising page here

○ Erlanger Health System has received an outpouring of offers to donate supplies, equipment + time – which is greatly appreciated – so they’ve created this form to those who wish to donate. Read more on Erlanger’s COVID-19 response. 

CHI Memorial Hospital is accepting cloth face masks for its employees who are not in direct contact with those affected by COVID-19, but still have risk of contracting the virus. There are donation baskets at the front of each CHI Memorial hospital where mask donations + cleaning supplies can be dropped off. (WDEF)

Due to COVID-19, McKamey Animal Center has been forced to cancel fundraisers that account for over 40% of their budget. If you’re looking to help during this time of need, McKamey asks that you consider donating to the center so that they can continue to provide services to families facing crises and animals in need of shelter and care.

Schedule Changes + Updates

Tennessee and Georgia have both recently received official guidelines for the return to offseason workouts for all sanctioned sports. TSSAA is allowing individual counties to implement their own start dates, and Hamilton County coaches have been told that they can have workouts on June 1. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

As the CDC released guidelines about reopening schools in the fall, Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson said he has his own task force working on plans, too. Expertise from the CDC and medical professionals will guide local decisions, he also said. The CDC recommendations include social distancing policies, serving lunch in classrooms and staggering arrival times. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

UT System President Randy Boyd and UT-system chancellors have made the decision to return to in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester. For students returning to campus, social distancing and enhanced safety measures will be implemented at UT schools. (NewsChannel 9)

College and professional sporting events (CBS Sports)

Hamilton County School District 

City of Chattanooga

Community Resources

If your family or business is in need of face masks, you can call the COVID-19 hotline at (423) 209-8383 to schedule an appointment to pick up large quantities of masks. Individuals can also pick up masks from the bins located outside of the Health Department’s 3rd Street entrances.

The Hamilton County Health Department announced a new COVID-19 testing location at Alstom Plant (1119 Riverfront Pkwy.). Testing at the new site began Monday and will run daily through the end of September from 7-11 a.m. The health department will no longer be testing at schools as the new school year begins. The health department also said that moving forward, test results will be available between 24-48 hours after testing.

The Hamilton County Health Department is changing the hours of the COVID-19 hotline. The new hours will be Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.4 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and closed on Sunday.  The call center has already fielded 22,462 calls since March 5.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced a new relief program for Tennessee businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. About $200 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds will be directed to small businesses that qualify. You can view details about the Tennessee Business Relief program here.

Parkridge Health System is offering financial assistance resources for tri-state residents unemployed or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone in southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and northeast Alabama can call (833) 867-8771 for guidance from experts that will help callers find the best assistance option for their specific health needs.

The City of Chattanooga has launched an ad contest for the LatinX community to raise awareness + share information about preventing the spread of COVID-19. You can submit a video ad here, and finalists will be chosen by LatinX leaders before going on to a community vote. The winning ads will be used by the city as public service announcements + shared across Hamilton County.

○ The state’s department of education launched a task force to support needs of students across Tennessee related to COVID-19. The task force’s goals are to identify local resources to help, set action items for communities, and plan on-going support for the upcoming school year. (NewsChannel 9)

Yesterday, editor Trista created this article with updated information on COVID-19 in Hamilton County. You can find some fast facts about the county’s statistics, precautions to take right now, and resources in the city and county surrounding COVID-19.

○ The Hamilton County Health Department created a series of informational videos that can be shared with people who have tested positive for COVID-19, their families, and close contacts. You can access the videos on the health department’s Spanish Youtube channel + English Youtube channel.

For updated information on COVID-19 testing sites and events in Hamilton County that are affiliated with the Health Department, click here. The list will be updated daily as needed with free testing sites and pop-up testing events.

The Chattanooga Salvation Army has opened a shelter for homeless COVID-19 patients that will offer patients with minor symptoms a place to stay and rest. The Hamilton County Health Department will make daily medical checks and have also provided personal protective equipment for Salvation Army workers. If you would like to donate to the Salvation Army, you can do so here. (WDEF)

As members of the community continue to work + learn from home, EPB is working to ensure households have power + connectivity. See EPB’s COVID-19 updates and resources

Local healthcare analytics company Base Camp Health has launched a digital application that allows businesses and organizations to manage and monitor the return of employees, students, and volunteers as the community begins to reopen. The app, called Ascend, streamlines individual assessments, communication workflows, contact tracing + population reporting to allow organizations to make decisions on safe operations each day. 

Data analytics hospitality company SipScience launched a data survey via Survey Monkey to support restaurants and bars as they plan to reopen.  For example, the survey asks whether you would be comfortable sitting down at a bar after quarantine is lifted, why or why not, and what would make you feel better. You can take the Restaurant/Bar Activity and COVID-19 survey here, and results will be shared on SipScience’s website and social media channels.

On April 28, Chattanooga City Council members approved funding for a COVID-19 Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance program, which will allow people to get money to help with rent and utilities. To be eligible for assistance, household income must be up to 120% of the area median income, and you must have been directly impacted by COVID-19. For more information + to apply for assistance, click here. (WDEF

○ The Innovation District of Chattanooga has created two tools to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic — an interactive database of resources and a daily newsletter — both designed to help Chattanooga businesses navigate the information and assistance available to them. The database, found at ChaBusiness.com, guides each user through the process of finding the most relevant information for their specific needs. It may also be beneficial for artists, freelancers, nonprofits and others. 

The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program recently created a free, confidential guide to help attorneys who may be facing extra stress or pressure due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The guide includes resources for mental health, recovery + professional needs. (Chattanoogan.com)

Families in need of assistance due to loss of a job amidst COVID-19 may be eligible to apply for up to $1000 a month for two months through Emergency Cash Assistance. Families are eligible if they were employed as of March 11 and have lost a job or at least 50% of their earned income due to COVID-19, have a child under 18 or a pregnant woman, have a valid social security number, do not have resources exceeding $2000, and have a gross monthly income that does not exceed 85% of the state’s median income. (NewsChannel 9)

Tennessee Action for Hospitality, a coalition that formed in response to the crisis the hospitality industry is facing, recently partnered with The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to create A Fund for Us. A Fund For Us will provide relief to those who have lost their jobs or seen a dramatic decrease in hours worked. Restaurants can register here to make their employees eligible.

Spanish COVID-19 resource page

The Health Department has created English and Spanish COVID-19 print resources that you can download and hang in your workplace or otherwise distribute. They are free to use by anyone. You can find them here

○ Yelp Chattanooga has created collections of restaurants offering to-go + delivery, where to buy gift cards online and grocery stores offering delivery.

○ SCORE is offering small business resources here.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has opened access to their coronavirus content to everyone, not just subscribers.

Hamilton County School District is now offering summer meal delivery to schoolchildren + their families. Details here.

The Chattanooga Area Food Bank can supply four meals with every dollar that is donated to them. You can contribute by donating to their Venmo @ChattanoogaArea-FoodBank or clicking here.

We have a list of ways to support local businesses during this time and now, an ongoing list of local businesses to support as they are are reopening.

The Chattanooga Chamber has a pool of resources on their site, including local health updates, restaurants offering take-out + delivery, online shopping + gift cards, tools for working remotely, and a small business hotline.

Elliott Davis put together helpful resources pertaining to business continuity, tax updates, and other related issues.

Health Care Resources

Parkridge Health System is offering financial assistance resources for tri-state residents unemployed or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone in southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and northeast Alabama can call (833) 867-8771 for guidance from experts that will help callers find the best assistance option for their specific health needs.

CHI Memorial, Erlanger Health System, and Parkridge Health System revised visitation policies created at the beginning of the pandemic to help reduce the spread of the virus and keep our patients and staff safe. CHI Memorial and Parkridge Health System have relaxed their visitation policies to allow one visitor, with some exceptions. Officials with Erlanger continue to re-evaluate its current visitation policies and are not planning to make any changes at this time. Visitation policies for each health system can be found online — CHI Memorial, Erlanger Health System + Parkridge Health system.

○ Erlanger’s Health System’s response to coronavirus COVID-19

○ CHI Memorial’s response to coronavirus COVID-19

CDC Resources

World Health Organization Resources

Community Conversations

Chattanooga Tourism Co. (formerly Chattanooga Visitors Bureau) launched a new campaign to keep us all virtually connected #ConnectChatt. Check out the details + join the conversation here.

You can join the Chattanooga COVID-19 Community Assistance Facebook group here.

Pass It Down has partnered with the Chattanooga Public Library to gather your COVID-19  stories. These community stories will be used in an interactive exhibit, which you can explore here. Click here to share your story.