Mental impact of virus monitored

Posted 4/1/20

The Tennessee Department of Health announced it would be adding a number of new statistics to their daily updates, but one number is growing in addition to confirmed cases: …

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Mental impact of virus monitored


The Tennessee Department of Health announced it would be adding a number of new statistics to their daily updates, but one number is growing in addition to confirmed cases: suicides. 

Tennessee’s cases of COVID-19 have more than tripled in a week, and Bradley County is now in double-digits with 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19. By the end of the week, the Tennessee Department of Health will be adding counts of deaths by county and statewide recoveries in an effort to be more transparent and obtain a more accurate count of active cases, according to Gov. Bill Lee.

Lee addressed the topic of mental health during his daily press conference Tuesday. He noted the “feelings of hopelessness” that people may feel as a result of job loss, financial struggles or the loss of a loved one due to the virus. He turned to Knox County, which has seen an uptick in suicides in recent days. 

“Last Friday, I was stunned to learn we had eight suicides in Knox County in one day," the governor said. "COVID-19 is a viral pandemic, but it's also a pandemic that can produce hopelessness in people when they’re faced with losing their jobs, or losing their business or losing their health or losing their parent. It’s an imminent threat to the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors. And my administration wants to be particularly committed to providing resources that provide a lifeline to Tennesseans who find themselves in a particularly challenging place with regard to mental health.”

Lee called the mental health toll the “collateral impact,” but he said mobile units will be made available even during this crisis. He said the number of people in need is expected to grow as the coronavirus spreads. Partnering with local non-profits, the units will be stationed in every county and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is working with local providers to expand telehealth services.

 “I’m deeply concerned about the lives of every Tennessean,” said Lee. 

Tennessee’s 24/7 crisis hotline is 855-274-7471 or 855-CRISIS-1.

The governor urged Tennesseans once more to obey the "Safer at Home" order that went into effect late Tuesday night, asking non-essential businesses that cannot alter their services for safe social distancing to close temporarily. 

“We need you to heed this call, for you to stay home for two weeks. Lives are depending on it. Livelihoods are depending on it.” 

Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks issued a statement on this order Tuesday afternoon (see related story on this page for more details). 

“Governor Lee took another important step to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The city of Cleveland will work hand-in-hand with state authorities as the state enforces these new executive orders,” the city mayor said. “The city council and I are imploring city of Cleveland residents to 'Stay at Home' if you can. This is very serious, and we need to do everything we can as friends and family to social distance and stop the spread of this virus." 


He added, "We need people to consider working from home if possible, participating in only necessary essential traveling, sanitizing frequently, and keeping a safe distance from others.  This will be challenging, but these measures will shorten the time we will need to confront this virus,” Brooks said.


The state is asking small businesses to apply for assistance during the current closure, which lasts through April 14. 

In addition, the governor asked childcare facilities to stay open at their discretion and seek grants from the state, and asked churches, gyms, nonprofits and similar community organizations to open emergency childcare facilities too. The state is loosening its restrictions on childcare facilities to benefit essential workers whose children are not home due to school closures. 

The Tennessee Department of Human Services has issued $10 million in emergency grants to help childcare facilities. Providers can register with TDHS, who can provide them with support and guidelines, at A background check will be conducted by the state for approval of the facility. 


Tennessee numbers

are still growing


According to information released late Tuesday by the Tennessee Department of Health, Bradley County now has 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases. 


In addition, state health officials are now providing numbers for "negative" tests. In Bradley County, 109 negative tests have been reported.


Statewide, Tennessee now has 2,239 confirmed cases.


In the age-range category, the Ages 21-30 group still leads the pack with 566 confirmed cases in Tennessee.


The entire age-category breakdown is as follows:


• Ages 0-10: 24

• Ages 11-20: 107

• Ages 21-30: 566

• Ages 31-40: 346

• Ages 41-50: 351

• Ages 51-60: 368

• Ages 61-70: 254

• Ages 71-80: 144

• Ages 80+: 63

• Pending: 16


Tennessee's larger metro areas still have the largest infection numbers.  Bradley County's immediate neighbor to the west, Hamilton, now has 48 cases (as confirmed by the state department; however, the Hamilton County Health Department reports 50). Hamilton is reporting 519 negative tests.


Other metro areas, and their numbers, include Davidson, 391 cases and 3,885 negatives tests; Knox, 66 cases and 637 negative tests; and  Shelby, 428 cases and 1,943.


Other Bradley County neighbors, and their number of confirmed cases, include McMinn, 3; Meigs, 1; Monroe, 5;  Polk, 0; and Rhea, 1.



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