McMinn County and its surrounding area is now included in the rapidly accumulating coronavirus statistics.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee has compiled a total of 615 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and two fatalities. McMinn has two reported cases. The Tennessee Department of Health’s Southeast Region office is investigating individual cases and directly notifying anyone who may have come in contact with an infected person.

Meigs County still has no reported cases of coronavirus. However, of the five counties that share a border with Meigs, four have at least one confirmed case: Roane (one case); Hamilton (12); and Bradley (1); as well as McMinn County’s two cases.

McMinn also shares a border with affected counties: Monroe (two cases); and Loudon (1); as well as the aforementioned Bradley County case.

Davidson County, where Nashville is located, has by far the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Tennessee with 164. In addition to Hamilton County, the other Tennessee counties that have reached double digits in reported cases are Knox (12 cases); Shelby (93); Sumner (34); and Williamson (53).

Until advised otherwise by state and/or county government, people are advised to continue to help prevent the further spread of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made the following information available to help educate the public about the virus.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and the virus is believed to mainly be spread from person to person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

The CDC strongly encourages taking the following steps to protect yourself and those around you:

• 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.

• Avoid close contact

This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick – the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions.

• Stay home if you’re sick

The only exception would be if a person needs to receive medical care.

• Cover coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.

• Wear a facemask if you are sick

A mask should be worn when you are around other people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask for any reason, do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes.

• If you are not sick you do not need to wear a facemask.

The only exception would be if you are caring for someone who is sick and unable to wear a facemask. Facemasks are in short supply and should be saved for caregivers.

• Clean and disinfect daily

This includes frequently-touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

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