Health Officials Confirm Nashville’s First Case Of Coronavirus, Tell Public to Avoid Panic

Mar 8, 2020

Nashville Mayor John Cooper announces city's first case of coronavirus at the Lentz Public Health Center.
Credit Blake Farmer | WPLN

A mild case of coronavirus was discovered in Nashville over the weekend, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the state up to three.

Health officials say the case was expected and are preparing for more positive cases as they test more people. They told residents not to panic.

How the woman, a Nashville resident, contracted the virus is unclear, but she had not traveled recently, health officials say.

“Now, this obviously comes at a time when Nashville wants and needs to give each other a big hug. Deserves to give each other a big hug,” says Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “And we still need to do that. Public Health will be talking about how we do that safely, with the best practices to keep our community safe.”

Officials are working to identify individuals the woman may have come in contact with. They say they aren’t sure if the virus is spreading in the community.

“The best ways to prevent the spread of this respiratory illness, now called COVID-19, are to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” says Michael Caldwell, Nashville’s health director.

He says residents should avoid shaking hands, too. Additional prevention tips include:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

The city is urging residents with flu-like symptoms to contact their health providers, and avoid emergency rooms unless they require immediate care.

The confirmed case is not expected to delay the reopening of Metro schools.

WPLN News’ Blake Farmer contributed to this report.