Coronavirus Pandemic Puts Nation in State of Uncertainty and Concern

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       In December 2019, Chinese health authorities identified an outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel, or new, coronavirus which has resulted in thousands of confirmed cases in China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. This coronavirus, COVID-19, which has been declared a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, is causing widespread cancellations of schools, sports, and other public gatherings.

       Last week, Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 14 declaring a state of emergency in Tennessee to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19. “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,” said Governor Lee. “We will continue to evaluate and adapt our position accordingly to fit what we believe is best for Tennesseans.” As of Monday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported that there were 52 confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 across the state. No positive cases have yet been reported in Wayne County.

       Executive Order 14 guidelines include the following:

    •Implements the Tennessee Emergency Management Plan;

    •Permits health care professionals licensed in other states to provide health care 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;

    •Expands testing sites for COVID-19;

    •Implements price gouging protections on medical and emergency supplies;

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

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

       Officials say that vulnerable populations should stay home when possible, and avoid large gatherings or locations where they are more likely to come into contact with the virus. Vulnerable populations include older adults and adults with underlying conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illness.

       If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

      There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

       The CDC says that the best way to protect yourself is to CLEAN YOUR HANDS OFTEN.  Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

      Public school systems and universities across the United States have cancelled classes for the foreseeable future. Wayne County Director of Schools Marlon Davis announced on Monday that Wayne County Schools will be out from March 17th until April 1st, or until additional guidelines are handed down by the state. Many colleges and universities are cancelling all on-campus classes and activities, while still offering classes online. College and technical school students are advised to check their school’s website for more details.

      Wayne County children 18 years and under may still receive meals during the school closing at Frank Hughes School, Waynesboro Middle School, or Collinwood Middle School. Sack meals will be available at the pick-up/drop-off sites at each school. The children must be present to receive a meal. However, per federal regulations, meals cannot be served during Spring Break, which is the week of March 23rd through March 27th. Meal times are: breakfast, 8-9 a.m., and lunch, 10:30 a.m.-12 noon.

       The Wayne County Circuit Court Clerk posted a notice regarding reset court dates. Due to the order or the Supreme Court of Tennessee at Nashville, all in-person court is suspended at this time.

    •All Juvenile Court will be reset and will resume on April 1st, 2020 at 9 a.m.

    •Child Support will be reset to April 15th, 2020 at 9 a.m.

    •All General Session court will be reset to April 7th, 2020 at 9 a.m.

    •Traffic Court for March 20th will be reset to April 24th, 2020 at 9 a.m.

    •General Session Civil Court will be reset to April 1st, 2020 at 1 p.m.

    •Driving School for March 20th will be reset to April 24th, 2020 at 1 p.m.

    •Drug School for March 27th will be reset to April 17th, 2020 at 1 p.m.

    For more information on Wayne County court dates, call 931-722-9728.

       Maury Regional Health has announced temporary inpatient visitor restrictions and patient guidelines for its outpatient locations in an effort to minimize the risk of transmission of viruses. The organization is asking that visitation to its hospitals in Columbia, Lewisburg, and Waynesboro be limited to one immediate family member or primary support person on an as-needed basis. In addition, immediate family should:

    •Not visit if you have any signs of a respiratory illness, fever or have been in close proximity with an individual with a confirmed case of the flu or COVID-19

    •Wash hands often with soap and hot water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer

    •Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze

    For patients treated at the Maury Regional Cancer Center, their immediate family member or primary support person is asked to limit their contact in patient areas by remaining in the main waiting room when possible.

       Information on COVID-19 and issues related to it continues to be updated daily. The News will continue to keep our readers informed of updates and cancellations. Watch our website and Facebook page for more.

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