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.

Due to COVID-19, Chattanooga’s biggest banks have seen a drastic growth in deposits. Pairing the uncertainty of the economy with the addition of stimulus checks, Chattanoogans have put away more than two billion additional dollars in deposits. Across the state of Tennessee, deposits grew by nearly 20.5% to top $193.1 billion. For a financial breakdown of Chattanooga’s largest banks, click here. (Chattanooga Times Free Press) 

The Chattanooga location of research company Wake Research, ClinSearch, is conducting trials of a new drug in Chattanooga to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The drug is supposed to work faster than a vaccine + act as preventative therapy to people who have been directly exposed to COVID-19. The drug is also being tested in three other cities nationwide. (WRCB)

Hamilton County Schools has cancelled several high school football games due to COVID-19 concerns. The Signal Mountain vs. East Ridge, McCallie vs. Battle Ground Academy, and Signal Mountain vs Brainerd games have been cancelled as positive COVID-19 cases have been reported to the school board. Though the original dates have been cancelled, no make-up dates have been scheduled. (NewsChannel 9)

The Hamilton County Health Department wants residents to know what their risks are and how they can protect themselves + others this Halloween. For example, trick-or-treating or costume parties could cause people to come into contact with COVID-19. Find low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk activities from the CDC here.

On Sept. 23, Gov. Bill Lee + the state’s department of education released estimated data regarding learning loss for TN students due to summer school closures for COVID-19. This data projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math.

As flu season starts, many people may wonder how to distinguish between COVID-19 and the seasonal flu. A test is the only way to be sure, but doctors also offered some differences to note. For example, with the seasonal flu, most people feel worse the first week. With COVID-19, patients likely feel worse as more time goes on. COVID-19 is also more likely to cause loss of taste and smell. (NewsChannel 9)

In the six months since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Hamilton County Health Department has conducted 80,000 COVID-19 tests, according to data provided by the department. The health department is providing free drive-thru COVID-19 testing seven days a week at the Alstom site (1119 Riverfront Pkwy). (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee aims to educate Tennesseeans on the importance of the flu vaccination as the 2020-2021 flu season approaches via a statewide awareness campaign. With the overlap of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season, the organization said that it is key to be proactive with vaccinations. According to the CDC, those six months and older are encouraged to receive flu vaccinations every year, especially now. For more information regarding the flu + resources to combat it, click here. 

On Sept. 22, the Hamilton County Health Department reported 69 new COVID-19 cases and one more COVID-19-related death, bringing the county’s toll to 92. Hamilton County now has 1,487 active cases and 52 hospitalized from the virus. (Chattanoogan.com)

The CDC released guidelines for families hoping to celebrate Halloween, with recommendations including no “normal” trick-or-treating, no costume masks, no indoor costume parties, and no haunted houses due to COVID-19. The CDC also outlined “low-risk” and “moderate-risk” alternatives, including a virtual Halloween costume contest and one-way trick-or-treating, in which individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for children to grab. (NewsChannel 9)

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is currently accepting deer donations to feed Tennessee families who are in need due to coronavirus. After hunters harvest a deer, they can donate to any of the 60 participating processors across the state, who will then process + donate the meat to community food banks or soup kitchens in need. (NewsChannel 9)

Check out this article from the Times Free Press with respiratory therapist Jerry Czerkasij, who explains his job and how he and other respiratory therapists have been working to help COVID-19 patients. Czerkasij also explained the process of putting someone on a ventilator, and how it is often the last resort. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

On Sept. 22, NewsChannel 9 was given a behind the scenes look at Hamilton County’s Alstom Plant COVID-19 testing site. Click here for more information about the testing process, like how it’s changed since they first started testing, what kinds of questions are asked when you get tested, and more. (NewsChannel 9)

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but Mainx24 has officially been postponed until 2021 due to safety reasons, current guidelines, city permitting, and insurance hurdles. Mainx24 is a 24-hour celebration that occurs in the Southside each December. Mainx24 officials said that if there are any changes between now and December, they will let everyone know. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the extension of over a dozen flexibilities to ensure that participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children can continue to receive food + health support during the pandemic. These flexibilities were set to expire at the end of the month before they were extended on Sept. 21. (NewsChannel 9)

On Sept. 21, the state’s dashboard reported 9,144 COVID-19 cases in Hamilton County. You can keep up with numbers here from the state and here from the local health department. 

On Sept. 30, the Hamilton County Commission will meet in-person for the first time since April. The commission has installed plexiglass dividers between seats, deep cleaned the chambers, and will require masks + temperature checks. The number of staff members and public attendees will be limited, but the commission is looking at electronic video call options for people who can’t attend in person. The Chattanooga City Council is not yet planning to return to in-person meetings. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Chattanooga restaurant owners have recently said that they believe the correlation between eating out and contracting COVID-19 is flawed. Struggling owners said that they feel targeted, as larger companies such as Walmart see thousands of customers on a daily basis. Wes Agee, co-owner of Charlie’s Quick Stop Barbecue, said that a target has been placed on local restaurant owners, preventing business from flourishing. (Chattanooga Times Free Press) 

The Hamilton County Health Department is still offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Alstom Plant (1125 Riverfront Pkwy.) from 7-11:30 a.m. each day. You can find more information on health department-affiliated testing sites here.

An anti-inflammatory drug called Baricitinib — that has already been widely used on COVID-19 patients — is now found to shorten Coronavirus recovery time by an additional day, according to drug company Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly announced the results on Sept. 14 from a 1,000 person study, which the government confirmed. The results of the study have not been published or reviewed by independent scientists yet. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Chattanooga State Community College is the recipient of $738,525 thanks to the Tennessee Coronavirus Relief Fund Grant, which aids in the financial expenses of hosting students on campus for classes. The grant will also assist students who do not have adequate resources to complete virtual classes throughout the spring semester. 

Recently, the Chattanooga Chamber, Chattanooga Tourism Co., Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga, and several other organizations expressed their support of extending the Hamilton County mask mandate to allow the community to continue doing business and serving visitors. On Sept. 3, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger extended the county’s mask mandate through Oct. 8. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

CEO of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society Rae Bond is encouraging Chattanoogans to continue wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing despite COVID-19 fatigue. Chief medical officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Dr. Andrea Willis added that the upcoming flu season can bring additional challenges as it collides with the pandemic, so these practices will be especially important. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Tennessee children’s hospitals are beginning to see pediatric patients with an illness that is believed to be connected to the coronavirus in children, called multi-inflammatory syndrome, that has claimed 16 lives from across 42 states as of Sept. 3. The syndrome is rare and can cause inflammation in various parts of a child’s body including the heart, brain, lungs, and skin. The CDC has reported 792 cases of multi-inflammatory syndrome, most found in children ages 1-14. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Health experts are encouraging Chattanoogans to get a flu vaccination, as the threat of a “twindemic” looms. As patients are protected from the flu, professionals are better able to distinguish between influenza and COVID-19. Dr. Anderson added that many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are found in influenza, so being vaccinated limits health risks. (WRCB)

US Rep. Jim Cooper + others in the music and restaurant industry are asking Congress to pass three bills that would help industries impacted by COVID-19. The bills include the RESTART Act, the SOS Act, and the RESTAURANTS Act. The bills are also supported by TN lawmaker Steve Cohen. (NewsChannel 9)

Beginning on Oct. 1, EPB will resume its normal business practices and disconnect customers who have not made arrangements to begin paying for past due bills. If you are a customer with past due bills, EPB encourages you to call + learn about the assistance options that are currently available to customers. EPB is now offering both the Low Income Energy Assistance Program and special COVID-19 utility assistance.

The Tennessee Department of Health announced that it would be changing its COVID-19 reporting guidelines on active cases, following guidance from the CDC. The state will now consider someone an active case for 14 days after the start of the illness or when a test was conducted, while the previous time frame was 21 days. On Sep. 4, the first day that the rule went into place, the Hamilton County Health Department reported 901 active cases, after reporting 1,701 the day before. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, several local grocery stores have changed some of their policies. Publix has removed its one-way aisle signs, saying that social distancing is now understood and practiced in the stores without need for one-way aisles. Pruett’s Market on Signal Mountain added a one-way aisle system + local Walmarts continue to encourage one-way aisle shopping as well. Publix has also returned to normal hours, and Walmart extended its closing times to 10 p.m. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

According to local health and school officials, social gatherings are responsible for the spike in COVID-19 cases among young people, not schools. Only four of the district’s 171 confirmed cases in the last three weeks have come from classroom contact. Rae Bond, chair of the local COVID-19 task force, reminded young adults and children that social distancing is key, regardless of age. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

On Thursday, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger extended the county-wide mask mandate for 30 days, meaning it will now expire on Oct. 8. During the Thursday press conference, many health officials spoke about the effectiveness of wearing a face covering to curb the spread of COVID-19. (NewsChannel 9)

The federal government has asked states to prepare for COVID-19 vaccine distribution by Nov. 1. Robert Redfield, director of the US CDC, said states — in the near future — will receive permit applications to distribute vaccines to state and local health departments + hospitals. Some public health experts are concerned the vaccine is being rushed due to the upcoming election. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

According to a federal official, the government plans to ship Abbott Laboratories rapid COVID-19 tests to assisted living facilities, followed by senior daycare centers and home health agencies. The plan was created in order to fill a testing gap for older adults who aren’t in a nursing home. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

On Aug. 28, Gov. Bill Lee extended the provision for Executive Order 59, which allows local authorities to enforce mask mandates and urges social distancing + staying home when possible. Gov. Lee also extended the State of Emergency until the end of September. Currently, the Hamilton County mask mandate is set to expire on Sept. 8, and there has been no word on extension plans. (NewsChannel 9)

○ The number of Americans newly diagnosed with COVID-19 is falling, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Experts said that this downward trend is due to more people wearing face masks and insufficient coronavirus testing. Despite the downward trend in new cases, the U.S., India, and Brazil still have the highest numbers for new coronavirus cases. (WRCB)

The World Health Organization is saying that children aged six to eleven should wear face masks in some cases to help fight the spread of COVID-19 as schools are starting back nationwide. The WHO said that decisions regarding children wearing a mask should consider factors like whether transmission is widespread in the area, the child’s ability to safely use a mask, and adult supervision when taking the masks on or off. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Tennesseans who test positive for COVID-19 or are isolating with a household member who has tested positive could be asked to quarantine for a longer period of time under new state guidelines. The 14-day quarantine process for residents living with an infected person would not start until after day 10 of isolation — based on the onset of symptoms that could be a total of 24 days. (WRCB)

The Hamilton County Health Department is reporting a trend in young people in the 11-20 age group getting infected with COVID-19. The spike in cases from this age group has occurred in the past month, which health department administrator Becky Barnes said was expected as schools have begun to start back. (NewsChannel 9)

The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Tennessee COVID-19 Recovery Act, which will protect businesses from unfounded COVID-19 legal claims. Under the Recovery Act, “a covered entity will not be liable for any damages, injury, or death that results from a health emergency claim if the covered entity did not act with gross negligence or willful misconduct and substantially complied with applicable public health guidance.” (NewsChannel 9)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.

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)

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. 

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)

 

Ways to Stay Updated

Hamilton County Schools has created a COVID-19 reporting dashboard on their website in order to be transparent with students and family members. The dashboard will include the number of active confirmed COVID-19 cases and exposures impacting people in the school district + the percentage of positive cases for employees by month. The dashboard will soon have similar data for students as well.

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)

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

If you are looking to get tested for COVID-19, you can click here to find a list of Hamilton County Health Department-affiliated free testing sites, most of which occur at the Alstom Plant at 1125 Riverfront Parkway. You can also click here to find other testing sites and events happening each week in Hamilton County.

Hamilton County schools’ athletic officials want to remind fans that they must wear masks at the games for the safety of others and in order for the schools to continue participating in athletics. In order to attend a game, fans must also have their temperature taken upon entering and stay six feet apart from others. (NewsChannel 9)

Back-to-school is more stressful than usual this year for many families. These 8 practices can help keep your child – and your family – safe and healthy

If you’re wondering what makes hand sanitizer effective + what you should be looking for when purchasing, check out this article. (Reminder: the Chattanooga Times Free Press has made all of its Coronavirus coverage free, you just have to make an account first). (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Doctors are telling people to get their flu shots this year so we can avoid a twindemic,” which is when two outbreaks, like COVID-19 and influenza, happen at the same time. (NewsChannel 9)

If you’re planning on attending a high school football game this fall, be sure to check out TSSAA’s list of health and safety guidelines. The guidelines include requiring all fans except those under the age of two to wear facial coverings, maintaining six feet or two seats of social distance between others, discouraging the use of a school band, and requiring that every person at the game have their temperature checked before entering. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Check out this article for more information about the difference between quarantine and isolation, which one you may need to consider if you’ve been near someone with COVID-19, and how long you should spend isolating or quarantining depending on the situation. Keep in mind while reading that because this virus is new, guidelines on these topics could change. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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 may 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 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

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)

○ If your face mask 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

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)

How to Help

Local restaurant Charlie’s BBQ is urging the Chattanooga community to support the Federal 2020 Restaurants Act, which would provide financial assistance to locally owned restaurants during COVID-19 to help prevent small businesses from closing their doors. Charlie’s BBQ owners Wes Agee and Elizabeth St. Claire said that their expenses have increased 38% since the pandemic began. (NewsChannel9)

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

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. 

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

Fall contact sports at nearby Lee University are postponed. All universities in the Gulf South Conference, including Lee, will postpone basketball, football, soccer and volleyball until at least Jan. 1. (NewsChannel 9)

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

Cempa Community Care is partnering with La Paz Chattanooga + Alleo Health System to offer permanent COVID-19 testing locations through the end of November. The partners will offer testing at the La Paz office (1402 Bailey Ave.) and the Alleo Health System office (4411 Oakwood Dr.). You can find more information about the new free testing locations here.

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor recently approved Tennessee for a FEMA grant under the Lost Wages Assistance program. The grant will allow Tennessee to provide $300 per weekin addition to unemployment benefits — to those who are unemployed due to COVID-19. (NewsChannel 9)

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.

○ 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.

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. 

○ 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.

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.