MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee state health officials announced nine new cases of coronavirus Thursday, doubling the state’s total from the day before.
There are now 18 confirmed cases in Tennessee.
Shelby County has its second case while Williamson County is up to eight and Davidson is up to six. Sullivan and Knox counties have one case each.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said the county’s second case had very close contact with the first case.
The two individuals traveled to New Orleans together and continued to be in close contact when they returned to Shelby County.
Haushalter says the second individual was being monitored so the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 were picked up quickly.
On Thursday morning, Gov. Bill Lee signed an emergency declaration as Tennessee grapples with coronavirus.
Lee spoke alongside state health officials Thursday morning, saying executive order 14 puts Tennessee in a position to bring in additional funds from FEMA, making it easier to respond to the disease.
Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said the primary funding from the emergency declaration will be used for telemedicine efforts to keep resources free in hospitals and clinics for those who are more seriously ill.
Piercey said there are concerns about supply, equipment and manpower shortages as the virus spreads, but she said that’s dependent on the scale and duration of the outbreak in Tennessee.
Lee said they expect the number of coronavirus cases to increase as expanded testing occurs.
Piercey said the state lab currently has the ability to test 500 individuals for coronavirus. She said there are now private laboratories testing for coronavirus but it’s not clear how many tests they have available.
There are more than 1,000 confirmed cases across the country.
Schools and universities across the state have started closing or transitioning to online classes to prevent the spread of the virus.
Health officials are encouraging social distancing, handwashing and frequent cleanings of high traffic areas to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people 60 and up and individuals with underlying chronic health conditions should stay at home as much as possible and avoid crowds.