Lo último sobre el impacto local de COVID-19


Lunes 6 de abril

Cambios de horario

🔹 El Junta de Educación del Condado de Sullivan la reunión originalmente programada para Thurdsay en Blountville se pospuso hasta el 23 de abril. Una sesión de trabajo está programada para las 4 p.m. ese día, seguido de una reunión a las 5 p.m. Los asuntos en la agenda incluirán la consideración de extender el contrato de trabajo del Director de Escuelas David Cox. Porque del coronavirus o la pandemia COVID-19, algunos participantes participarán de forma remota, según lo permita una orden ejecutiva del gobernador Bill Lee. Además, debido a la pandemia, la sesión de trabajo y la reunión no estarán abiertas al público, sino que estarán disponibles para su visualización en línea.

🔹 Para proteger la salud y la seguridad públicas durante el brote de COVID-19, el Virginia Creeper Trail estará cerrado temporalmente, a partir del lunes 6 de abril a las 5 p.m. La decisión fue tomada conjuntamente por los administradores de la ruta: el Servicio Forestal de los EE. UU. Y las ciudades de Abingdon y Damasco. «El hacinamiento reciente en partes del sendero, la preocupación por aumentar la carga sobre los servicios médicos de emergencia locales y la salud y seguridad de todos los usuarios del sendero fueron las fuerzas impulsoras de esta decisión», dijo Matthew Crum, presidente de Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy. Dirija sus preguntas a Virginia Creeper Trail Conservancy al 804-334-5853.

Actualización de las noticias

🔹 El gobernador de Virginia Ralph Northam anunció hoy que el División de Servicios Consolidados de Laboratorio (DCLS) del Departamento de Servicios Generales (DGS) es uno de los primeros laboratorios de salud pública en la nación en utilizar tecnología genética para ayudar a los funcionarios de salud pública a comprender y rastrear mejor el alcance de la pandemia COVID-19 para fortalecer los esfuerzos de prevención y respuesta. DCLS está utilizando la secuenciación de próxima generación para decodificar genéticamente algunas muestras de Virginia que contienen el nuevo coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, que causa COVID-19. Observar esta huella genética puede ayudar a los funcionarios de salud pública a rastrear cómo está cambiando el virus y proporcionar información sobre cómo se transmite.

🔹 Sylvan Learning of Kingsport, un proveedor líder de aprendizaje personal para estudiantes en los grados K-12, ha impulsado su entrega comercial para que esté exclusivamente en línea para continuar brindando soluciones a las familias que necesitan apoyo educativo durante la pandemia de coronavirus (COVID-19). Para obtener más información sobre los recursos educativos en línea de Sylvan, visite www.sylvanlearning.com.

🔹 El gobernador de Tennessee Bill Lee anunció $ 200 millones en subvenciones que se distribuirán a todos los gobiernos de los condados y ciudades de Tennessee para gastos locales únicos en el año fiscal 2021. La financiación se basa en la población según lo publicado por la Oficina del Censo de los EE. UU. Cada condado recibirá al menos $ 500,000, y cada ciudad o municipio recibirá al menos $ 30,000. Los fondos pueden utilizarse para proyectos viales, I.T. mejoras, mantenimiento de capital, mejoras del sistema de servicios públicos y proyectos de seguridad pública. Ciertos gastos relacionados con el desastre también son elegibles para financiamiento.

🔹 El gobernador de Tennessee Bill Lee anunció que el estado de Tennessee asignará $ 10 millones en subsidios de preparación para hospitales pequeños y rurales para apoyar a los hospitales que enfrentan dificultades financieras debido a la respuesta continua a COVID-19. Los fondos, con un límite de $ 500,000 por hospital, se asignarán de la apropiación de respuesta COVID-19 del año fiscal FY20 y serán distribuidos por el Departamento de Finanzas y Administración. Para los hospitales participantes, las subvenciones servirán de puente durante las próximas semanas, mientras se suspenden los procedimientos electivos y aún se están procesando nuevos fondos federales.

🔹 El Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Tennessee (TDHS) lanzó una línea directa especial este mes para ayudar a facilitar que las familias con niños verifiquen su solicitud de asistencia monetaria de emergencia. Los solicitantes pueden llamar al 833-496-0661 para conocer el estado de su solicitud, incluida la aprobación o denegación, y cuánto dinero puede esperar recibir la familia aprobada. Las solicitudes de asistencia monetaria de emergencia se aceptarán hasta el 29 de mayo de 2020. El departamento solicita a los solicitantes que completen el proceso de solicitud en línea en https://tdhs.servicenow.com/relief?id=relief_registration.

🔹 El Junta Escolar del Condado de Scott celebrará su reunión regular de la junta escolar de abril electrónicamente el martes por la noche, 7 de abril, a las 6:30 p.m. De conformidad con la Sección 2.2-3708.2 del Código de Virginia, esta reunión solo cubrirá temas relacionados con la situación de emergencia del brote de COVID-19 y / o negocios esenciales que requieren acción inmediata, incluida la aprobación del pago necesario de reclamos durante este tiempo de emergencia. Los artículos no esenciales no estarán en la agenda. La reunión se puede ver en YouTube en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-XRSamkq6M.

🔹 El Departamento de ingresos de Tennessee ha extendido la fecha de vencimiento para presentar y pagar el impuesto de privilegio profesional desde el 1 de junio de 2020 hasta el 1 de julio de 2020. El gobernador Bill Lee incluyó la extensión de impuestos en la Orden Ejecutiva No. 24. El impuesto de privilegio profesional es un impuesto anual de $ 400 para individuos licenciado o registrado para ejercer ciertas profesiones en Tennessee. A partir de este año, solo las siguientes profesiones están sujetas al impuesto: agentes, corredores de bolsa y asesores de inversiones registrados bajo el Título 48 del Código de Tennessee; abogados cabilderos; y médicos y médicos osteopáticos.

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COVID-19 inactivo Domtar

La Cruz Roja del noreste de Tennessee fue anfitriona de dos campañas de sangre en abril

Los estadounidenses se preparan para la semana ‘más dura y triste’ de sus vidas

Domingo 5 de abril

Cambios de horario

🔹 El Reuniones de la Asociación de Diabetes de Kingsport actualmente programado para el 14 de abril y el 12 de mayo se reprogramará para más adelante este verano. “Como siempre, la salud y el bienestar de nuestros miembros y seguidores es de suma importancia ya que seguimos las pautas de distanciamiento social para prevenir la propagación del coronavirus. Deseamos mejores días por delante, ya que buscamos compartir buenas ideas para limitar la exposición y protegernos, ya que nos damos cuenta de que la diabetes es un riesgo complicado para COVID-19. Las cosas que podemos controlar, como tener medicamentos y suministros a mano, usar la entrega a domicilio y el pedido por correo, así como una dieta adecuada y pruebas son aún más importantes ”, dijo David Thompson en un correo electrónico. Consulte el sitio web en Kingsportdiabetes.org para obtener otros enlaces para mantenerse informado.

Actualización de las noticias

🔹 los Departamento de salud de Tennessee El informe no enumera muertes en el condado de Washington por COVID-19, un cambio del informe del sábado que señaló dos. El domingo, una portavoz del departamento dijo que el informe anterior resultó de un error de transcripción: «El condado de Washington no tiene ninguna muerte reportada en este momento». El informe del estado del domingo indicó un total de 44 muertes en 16 condados, un aumento de una a partir del sábado. En el noreste de Tennessee, una muerte cada una figuraba en los condados de Hawkins, Sullivan y Greene. El número total de casos de COVID-19 en Tennessee aumentó en 312, de 3,321 el sábado a 3,633 el domingo. Hubo 328 hospitalizaciones y 295 casos listados como recuperados. A nivel local, hay 77 casos en el extremo noreste de Tennessee, incluidos 23 casos en el condado de Washington, 21 casos en el condado de Sullivan, 17 casos en el condado de Greene, 10 casos en el condado de Hawkins, 3 casos en el condado de Carter, 2 casos en el condado de Johnson y 1 caso en el condado de Unicoi.

🔹 Pruebas actuales del Departamento de Salud de Virginia results (a partir de las 5 p.m., 4 de abril) muestra 2,637 casos de COVID-19 en Virginia con 431 hospitalizaciones y 51 muertes. De esos casos, 15 están en el suroeste de Virginia, incluidos 2 en el condado de Lee y 1 en el condado de Wise (distrito de Lenowisco); 5 en el condado de Washington, 1 en Bristol, 1 en Carroll, 1 en Galax, 2 en Smyth y 2 en el condado de Wythe (distrito de Mount Rogers).

🔹 los Grupo de Trabajo de Fraude contra el Coronavirus de Virginia e Servicio de Impuestos Internos – Investigaciones Criminales (IRS-CI) advierten a los contribuyentes que estén alertas sobre posibles estafas relacionadas con los pagos de impacto económico de COVID-19. Los abogados de los Estados Unidos, Thomas T. Cullen y G. Zachary Terwilliger, y la policía del estado de Virginia junto con Kelly R. Jackson, agente especial a cargo de la oficina local del IRS-CI en Washington DC, hicieron el anuncio hoy en un esfuerzo por evitar que los contribuyentes necesita ser víctima de delincuentes utilizando los pagos aprobados recientemente como una oportunidad para cometer un delito. Los estafadores pueden tratar de hacer que les firme su cheque o de que «verifique» su información de presentación para robarle su dinero. Su información personal podría usarse para presentar declaraciones de impuestos falsas en un esquema de robo de identidad. Debido a esto, todos los que reciben un pago de impacto económico de COVID-19 están en riesgo. Si recibe mensajes de texto o correos electrónicos alegando que puede obtener su dinero más rápido enviando información de identificación personal o haciendo clic en los enlaces, elimine estos textos y correos electrónicos. NO haga clic en ningún enlace en esos textos o correos electrónicos. Si recibe un «cheque» por un monto impar (especialmente uno con centavos), o un cheque que requiere que verifique el cheque en línea o llamando a un número, es una estafa. Recuerde, el gobierno federal no le pedirá que pague nada por adelantado para obtener un beneficio legítimo. Sin cargos. Sin cargos. Cualquiera que solicite un pago inicial por un beneficio prometido es un estafador.

🔹 El miércoles 8 de abril Northeast State Community College albergará un ayuntamiento virtual para estudiantes de 1:30 a 2:30 p.m. para proporcionar actualizaciones y responder preguntas sobre aprendizaje y recursos en línea. El personal responderá las preguntas enviadas por los estudiantes antes del evento; esas preguntas pueden ser enviadas a [email protected] Para unirse al ayuntamiento virtual del miércoles, los estudiantes deben visitar https://zoom.us/j/634626025. El ID de la reunión es 634 626 025 seguido del signo #. No hay identificación de participante; simplemente presione # nuevamente cuando se le solicite la ID del participante.

Lee mas

Funcionarios advierten sobre posibles estafas de pago de impacto económico de COVID-19

Aún no hay planes para cambiar las fechas de las elecciones.

Oremos por nuestros trabajadores de la salud.

Sábado 4 de abril

Actualización de las noticias

🔹Tél Distrito de Salud Lenowisco del Departamento de Salud de Virginia está confirmando un caso de COVID-19 en un residente del condado de Wise, un hombre de unos 70 años. El esta hospitalizado. Debido a la privacidad del paciente, VDH no revelará más información sobre el paciente.

🔹 dos Condado de Washington, Tennessee, muertes se agregaron el sábado a la cifra estatal del nuevo coronavirus (COVID-19), según datos del Departamento de Salud de Tennessee.

🔹 Resultados actuales de las pruebas del Departamento de Salud de Tennessee (a partir de las 2 p.m., 4 de abril) muestran 3,321 casos (+254 en 24 horas) de COVID-19 en Tennessee con 311 (+18) hospitalizaciones y 43 (+6) muertes. De esos casos, 71 están en el noreste de Tennessee, incluidos 22 en el condado de Washington, 18 en el condado de Sullivan, 16 en el condado de Greene, 9 en el condado de Hawkins, 2 en el condado de Johnson, 3 en el condado de Carter y 1 en el condado de Unicoi. Ha habido 5 muertes (2 en Washington, 1 en Greene, 1 en Hawkins, 1 en Sullivan).

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El reclutamiento militar lucha cuando se cierran las estaciones de alistamiento

Viernes 3 de abril

Cambios de horario

🔹 Grupo de alimentos de Houchens anunció el viernes su supermercado y conveniencia las tiendas estarán cerradas para el domingo de Pascua, 12 de abril. El día ofrecerá a cada empleado un muy merecido día de descanso y tiempo para pasar con sus seres queridos. «Los equipos de la tienda han sido increíbles, y no podemos agradecerles lo suficiente por la dedicación y el compromiso de servir a sus comunidades durante este momento sin precedentes y difícil «, dijo el comunicado. Las tiendas operadas por Houchens Foods Group incluyen Hometown IGA, Crossroads IGA, Price Less Foods, Buy-Low, Simpson’s Market, IGA Express, JR Foods, Save-A-Lot, Food Giant, Pic-N-Sav, Piggly Wiggly, Market Place, Mad Butcher, Big Star, Sureway, Mad Butcher, Ripley Market, Sav Mor y Food Giant Cash Saver.

🔹 Para proteger la salud y la seguridad públicas y alinearse con la orientación de los funcionarios y expertos de salud de Virginia en los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC), así como para cumplir con las órdenes de estadía en el hogar de todo el estado de Virginia, el Distrito Clinger Ranger de los Bosques Nacionales George Washington y Jefferson está implementando paradas temporales para incluir todos los campamentos y áreas de uso diurno. Las paradas incluyen el área recreativa Bark Camp, el área recreativa Cave Springs, las áreas recreativas Cane Patch y Phillips Creek, el área recreativa Hanging Rock, el área recreativa High Knob, el área recreativa Keokee Lake, la torre de observación High Knob y la torre de observación Birch Knob. Todos los senderos y áreas de estacionamiento de senderos permanecen abiertos, aunque los baños están cerrados. Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Clinch Ranger District al (276) 679-8370.

Actualización de las noticias

🔹 En su sesión informativa diaria para líderes comunitarios y cívicos, Salud de balada dijo que está suspendiendo todas las experiencias clínicas y no clínicas de los estudiantes en sus instalaciones a partir del miércoles 8 de abril.

🔹 Pruebas actuales del Departamento de Salud de Tennessee results (a partir de las 2 p.m., 3 de abril) muestra 3,067 casos (+222 en 24 horas) de COVID-19 en Tennessee con 293 (+30) hospitalizaciones y 37 (+5) muertes. De esos casos, 68 están en el noreste de Tennessee, incluidos 20 en el condado de Washington, 18 en el condado de Sullivan, 16 en el condado de Greene, 8 en el condado de Hawkins, 2 en el condado de Johnson, 3 en el condado de Carter y 1 en el condado de Unicoi. Ha habido tres muertes (1 en Greene, 1 en Hawkins, 1 en Sullivan).

🔹 Pruebas actuales del Departamento de Salud de Virginia results (a partir de las 5 p.m., 2 de abril) muestra 2,012 casos de COVID-19 en Virginia con 312 hospitalizaciones y 46 muertes. De esos casos, 12 están en el suroeste de Virginia, incluidos 2 en el condado de Lee (distrito de Lenowisco); 3 en el condado de Washington, 1 en la ciudad de Bristol, 2 en Smyth, 2 en Wythe (distrito de Mount Rogers); y 2 en el condado de Tazewell (distrito de Cumberland Plateau).

🔹 El Departamento de Educación de Tennessee ha publicado una encuesta pública en busca de comentarios de todas las partes interesadas sobre las formas más efectivas de ayudar a los distritos escolares a abordar las necesidades inmediatas para responder a la pandemia de coronavirus. HR 748, la «Ley de Ayuda, Alivio y Seguridad Económica de Coronavirus» (Ley CARES) es una legislación federal que proporciona $ 2 billones en ayuda de emergencia en respuesta a COVID-19 e incluye $ 30.75 mil millones a nivel nacional para el Financiamiento de Estabilización de la Educación. Los distritos escolares de Tennessee son elegibles para recibir fondos de ayuda por única vez, una vez que estén disponibles, según sus porcentajes de fórmula del Título I. Se requerirá que cada estado presente un plan que el Departamento de Educación de EE. UU. Debe aprobar para recibir fondos, y se espera que la solicitud federal se abra a mediados de abril. Debido a esta línea de tiempo, la fecha límite para completar la encuesta es el lunes 13 de abril. Se puede acceder a la encuesta pública aquí.

Partner Food City, socio de Bristol Motor Speedway desde hace mucho tiempo, continúa hoy su festival de admiradores de larga duración en un sentido virtual (viernes 3 de abril). Food City Family Race Night se llevará a cabo en los canales de redes sociales de Food City (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) a partir de la 1 p.m. y corriendo hasta las 9 p.m. Food City compartirá recuerdos del evento favorito de los fanáticos y se involucrará con los fanáticos y los conductores durante todo el día. Aquellos interesados ​​en compartir sus fotos favoritas de los eventos anteriores de Food City Family Race Night pueden usar el hashtag #FCRaceNightMemories. Food City Family Race Night comienza un divertido fin de semana de actividades de carrera virtual, que culmina con el eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series Food City Showdown el domingo 5 de abril a la 1 p.m., transmisión simultánea en FOX (donde esté disponible), FS1 y la aplicación FOX Sports.

🔹 El gobernador de Virginia Ralph Northam anunció hoy un financiamiento inicial de emergencia de $ 2.5 millones para albergar a la población de indigentes en todo el estado de Virginia durante la pandemia COVID-19. Este apoyo de emergencia proporcionará alojamiento temporal para los aproximadamente 1,500 virginianos que actualmente no tienen refugio o dependen de refugios que requieren que se vayan todos los días. El financiamiento también proporcionará viviendas para personas en refugios que pueden necesitar ser puestos en cuarentena, o donde el distanciamiento social no sea factible. Los fondos se utilizarán para cupones de hoteles y moteles, administración de casos, alimentos, suministros de limpieza y transporte médico. La Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, por sus siglas en inglés) proporcionará fondos parciales para ayudar a las personas sin hogar que tienen 65 años o más, aquellas con otras afecciones preexistentes y aquellas que dieron positivo para COVID-19.

Season La temporada de caza de pavos de primavera de 2020 en todo el estado de Tennessee se llevará a cabo según lo programado y los lagos y ríos del estado y las áreas de acceso controladas por el Agencia de Recursos de Vida Silvestre de Tennessee permanecerá abierto El pavo de caza de primavera de Tennessee atrae anualmente a miles de habitantes de Tennessee al bosque. El presidente Kurt Holbert insta a los cazadores, pescadores, observadores de vida silvestre y otros que disfrutan del aire libre a tomar las precauciones necesarias.

🔹 El Departamento de correcciones de Virginia anunció hoy que el sistema de correcciones del estado tiene un nuevo caso COVID-19 en la población de delincuentes encarcelados. Este delincuente está encarcelado en la Unidad Correccional 13 de Virginia Central para mujeres en Chesterfield. El DOC de Virginia, con cerca de 30,000 delincuentes encarcelados, ahora tiene un total de cuatro reclusos con COVID-19. Los otros tres casos están en el Centro Correccional de Virginia para Mujeres (VCCW) en Goochland. A nivel estatal, cuatro empleados de VADOC y un contratista han dado positivo por COVID-19. Los empleados incluyen un oficial en el Complejo Correccional de State Farm; un oficial en entrenamiento en VCCW; un oficial en el Centro Correccional Indian Creek; y un empleado en la oficina de libertad condicional de Norfolk. El contratista es una enfermera contratada en VCCW.

🔹 El gobernador de Virginia Ralph Northam anunció hoy un financiamiento inicial de emergencia de $ 2.5 millones para albergar a la población de indigentes en todo el estado de Virginia durante la pandemia COVID-19. Este apoyo de emergencia proporcionará alojamiento temporal para los aproximadamente 1,500 virginianos que actualmente no tienen refugio o dependen de refugios que requieren que se vayan todos los días. El financiamiento también proporcionará viviendas para personas en refugios que pueden necesitar ser puestos en cuarentena, o donde el distanciamiento social no sea factible. «Mientras luchamos contra esta crisis de salud pública sin precedentes, debemos asegurarnos de que nadie se quede atrás», dijo el gobernador Northam. «He emitido una orden de estadía en el hogar en todo el estado, pero sabemos que hay muchas personas de Virginia que no tienen un hogar donde quedarse. Con esta financiación, nos aseguraremos de que las personas sin hogar tengan acceso a opciones de vivienda inmediatas y ayuden a prevenir la propagación de COVID-19 . «

🔹 El gobernador de Tennessee Bill Lee firmó la Orden ejecutiva 24 que, entre otras cosas, otorga al Comisionado de Salud la autoridad para permitir que los profesionales de salud mental o conductual con licenciatura y postgrado traten a los pacientes a través de la telemedicina bajo la supervisión de un profesional con licencia; extiende la fecha de vencimiento del pago del impuesto de privilegio profesional del 1 de junio al 1 de julio; suspende hasta el 1 de julio la fecha límite del 6 de abril para presentar solicitudes de desgravación fiscal y congelamiento de impuestos, para que las personas mayores y otras poblaciones vulnerables no tengan que visitar los edificios públicos para presentar una solicitud; y sexpira la expiración de las licencias de matrimonio, lo que normalmente ocurre dentro de los 30 días posteriores a la obtención de la licencia si no se lleva a cabo una ceremonia, entre el 12 de marzo y el 31 de mayo es hasta el 30 de junio, para que quienes retrasen sus bodas debido a COVID-19 no tengan que pagar para una nueva licencia. Lea la orden ejecutiva aquí.

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El caso Wise County COVID-19 informa un error

Jueves 2 de abril

Cambios de horario

🔹 El Festival de ciruela azul, programado para el 5 y 6 de junio en Johnson City, ha sido cancelado debido a la incertidumbre que rodea el brote de COVID-19. La junta anual del festival de música está discutiendo opciones para un evento más pequeño, posiblemente este otoño.

🔹 El Corredor del valle de Tennessee (TVC) ha anunciado nuevas fechas para su 2020 Cumbre nacional que celebra 25 años de innovación en la transformación de nuestra región. La Cumbre ahora se llevará a cabo del 15 al 16 de julio en Milligan College en Johnson City. La Cumbre Nacional anual de TVC es un evento de dos días diseñado para compartir información y promover la colaboración entre los líderes federales, educativos, comunitarios y comerciales de nuestra región.

🔹 Para proteger la salud y la seguridad públicas y alinearse con la orientación de los funcionarios y expertos de salud de Virginia en los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC), así como para cumplir con las órdenes de estadía en el hogar de Virginia y West Virginia, Funcionarios de los bosques nacionales de George Washington y Jefferson están ampliando las paradas temporales para incluir áreas adicionales de uso diurno, como sitios de picnic, sitios de interpretación, campos de tiro y sitios de natación. Los cierres incluyen: Todos los campamentos y cabañas desarrollados, todos los baños públicos, todos los centros de visitantes, todos los refugios de senderos y más. Las instalaciones del sendero y los puntos de acceso al sendero escénico nacional de los Apalaches, incluidos los estacionamientos dedicados al sendero, también permanecen cerrados temporalmente. Para obtener una lista de instalaciones específicas en los Bosques Nacionales George Washington y Jefferson que están temporalmente cerradas, visite FS.USDA.gov/recmain/gwj/recreation.

Actualización de las noticias

🔹 El Noreste de Tennessee Cruz Roja Americana en Kingsport está organizando una campaña de donación de sangre el martes 7 de abril y el miércoles 22 de abril de 10 a.m. a 2 p.m. en el noreste de la Cruz Roja Americana de Tennessee, 660 Eastern Star Road, en Kingsport. Los donantes voluntarios están en una posición única para garantizar que la atención médica esencial continúe durante la pandemia de coronavirus para aquellos que dependen de transfusiones que salvan vidas, como pacientes quirúrgicos, víctimas de accidentes, nuevas mamás con partos complicados, pacientes que reciben tratamiento contra el cáncer y más. Cada centro de donación y donación de sangre de la Cruz Roja sigue los más altos estándares de seguridad y control de infecciones, y se han implementado precauciones adicionales para garantizar la salud de los donantes, empleados y voluntarios de la Cruz Roja. Simplemente descargue la aplicación American Red Cross Blood Donor, visite RedCrossBlood.org, llame al 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) o habilite Blood Donor Skill en cualquier dispositivo Alexa Echo para hacer una cita o para obtener más información .

🔹 A medida que la nueva enfermedad del coronavirus (COVID-19) continúa afectando a las comunidades de todo el país, Bancos de Tennessee están trabajando las 24 horas para ayudar a los prestatarios, incluso a través de la nueva Ley de Ayuda, Alivio y Seguridad Económica (CARES) de Coronavirus. El Departamento del Tesoro de EE. UU. Y la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas emitieron más orientación para el Programa de Protección de Cheques de Pago (PPP) de la Ley CARES, que proporcionará hasta $ 350 mil millones en préstamos totalmente perdonables para ayudar a las pequeñas empresas a mantener las nóminas durante la pandemia de coronavirus. A pesar de la orientación revisada para el programa que se lanzará el viernes 3 de abril, muchos bancos aún esperan la aprobación final para otorgar estos préstamos. Habrá bancos que estén listos para hacer estos préstamos de inmediato una vez que puedan obtener las reglas finales de implementación de la SBA y el Tesoro. Los banqueros de Tennessee piden paciencia al público cuando comienza el programa.

🔹 El gobernador de Virginia Ralph Northam anunció el jueves que Virginia recibió una declaración de desastre mayor para ayudar en la respuesta de la Commonwealth al nuevo coronavirus, o COVID-19. Northam solicitó esta asistencia federal por desastre el lunes 30 de marzo. Una designación de Declaración de Desastre Mayor proporciona asistencia pública federal para todas las áreas de la Mancomunidad de Virginia afectadas por COVID-19 a un costo compartido federal del 75 por ciento. Esto permite a las agencias estatales, gobiernos locales y ciertas organizaciones sin fines de lucro comprar suministros adicionales y recibir reembolsos por los costos relacionados con COVID-19 en virtud de su programa de Asistencia Pública. Además, la Declaración de Desastres Mayores autoriza a las agencias federales a proporcionar asistencia directa de emergencia a Virginia.

🔹 El Junta de Educación del Estado de Tennessee anunció el jueves que convocará una reunión electrónica especial llamada el 9 de abril a las 2 p.m. (CDT) para promulgar reglas de emergencia que rijan los requisitos de graduación de K-12 para los estudiantes de último año de secundaria de Tennessee en respuesta a la actual crisis de salud pública de COVID-19. «Nuestra Junta toma muy en serio nuestra responsabilidad con los estudiantes, educadores y distritos, especialmente en momentos como estos», dijo la Sra. Lillian Hartgrove, presidenta de la Junta de Educación del Estado. «Nuestros miembros y personal están listos para hacer que este proceso sea lo más fluido y transparente posible en estas circunstancias». Durante la reunión especial convocada, los miembros de la Junta también abordarán la orientación con respecto a la emisión de licencias para los candidatos a docentes programados para completar sus programas de preparación de educadores durante el año escolar 2019-2020. Las reglas actuales de preparación del educador requieren que los estudiantes maestros obtengan 15 semanas de tiempo de enseñanza en el aula. Sin embargo, el cierre de escuelas en todo el estado puede prohibir que los candidatos a maestros completen estos requisitos.

🔹 El Grupo de Trabajo de Fraude contra el Coronavirus de Virginia e Servicio de Impuestos Internos – Investigaciones Criminales (IRS-CI) advierten a los contribuyentes que estén alertas sobre posibles estafas relacionadas con los pagos de impacto económico de COVID-19. Los estafadores pueden tratar de hacer que les firme su cheque o de que «verifique» su información de presentación para robarle su dinero. Su información personal podría usarse para presentar declaraciones de impuestos falsas en un esquema de robo de identidad. Debido a esto, todos los que reciben un pago de impacto económico de COVID-19 están en riesgo. Para denunciar un esquema de fraude o actividad sospechosa de COVID-19, comuníquese con el Centro Nacional para el Fraude de Desastres (NCDF) llamando a la línea directa de NCDF al 1-866-720-5721 o enviando un correo electrónico a [email protected] Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web del IRS en www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

🔹 Pruebas actuales del Departamento de Salud results (a partir de las 2 p.m., 2 de abril) muestra 2,845 casos de COVID-19 en Tennessee con 263 hospitalizaciones y 32 muertes. De esos casos, 64 están en el noreste de Tennessee, incluidos 20 en el condado de Washington, 17 en el condado de Sullivan, 16 en el condado de Greene, 7 en el condado de Hawkins, 2 en el condado de Johnson, 1 en el condado de Carter y 1 en el condado de Unicoi.

🔹 El gobernador de Tennessee Bill Lee firmará la Orden Ejecutiva 23 que exige que los habitantes de Tennessee se queden en casa a menos que estén llevando a cabo actividades esenciales ya que los datos muestran un aumento en el movimiento ciudadano en todo el estado. Los datos del Departamento de Transporte de Tennessee analizaron los patrones de tráfico para marzo de 2020. Si bien las medidas más seguras en el hogar y las restricciones adicionales a las empresas mostraron una fuerte caída en el movimiento de vehículos del 13 al 29 de marzo, los datos que comienzan el 30 de marzo indican que los viajes tienden hacia arriba de nuevo. La administración también analizó datos de Unacast para comprender la movilidad de los teléfonos celulares y determinar las tendencias de movimiento entre las personas. Sin emitir indica que el movimiento de los Tennesseans tiende hacia los niveles anteriores a COVID-19. La orden ejecutiva permanece vigente hasta el 14 de abril de 2020 a las 11:59 p.m. El gobernador Lee abordará estas medidas en la rueda de prensa de hoy a las 3 p.m. CDT

🔹 Para aumentar las pruebas de coronavirus (COVID-19), el Oficina de salud regional del noreste ha establecido sitios de evaluación en los condados de Carter, Greene, Hawkins / Rogersville y Washington. Los sitios de evaluación comienzan el 3 de abril hasta nuevo aviso. Los sitios de evaluación están abiertos solo a pacientes preseleccionados y registrados previamente. Los residentes que tengan inquietudes de que puedan tener síntomas de COVID-19 pueden comunicarse con la línea de información sobre el coronavirus del noreste al 423-979-4689 entre las 8 a.m. y las 6 p.m. De lunes a viernes. Se requiere preinscripción para realizar pruebas en todos los sitios y no estará disponible en los sitios. Los equipos médicos de la Guardia Nacional estarán en el lugar para ayudar con las pruebas. Los sitios estarán abiertos en los estacionamientos del departamento de salud en los siguientes días: Departamentos de salud del condado de Greene & Carter: de lunes a viernes de 9 a.m. a 11 a.m. Departamentos de salud del condado de Rogersville y Washington: de lunes a viernes de 1 p.m. a 3 p.m.

🔹 Dolly Parton ha hecho un generoso regalo para Centro Médico de la Universidad de Vanderbilt eso aumentará el conocimiento científico y avanzará la batalla contra COVID-19. Parton hizo el regalo en honor a su amiga de toda la vida, Naji Abumrad, MD, profesora de cirugía, para apoyar a los equipos de investigación que trabajan con urgencia para perfeccionar tratamientos y curas para COVID-19. Los investigadores de VUMC están probando una variedad de medicamentos ya existentes en ensayos clínicos urgentes destinados a reducir los síntomas potencialmente mortales asociados con COVID-19. Además, los investigadores se están centrando en terapias completamente nuevas que podrían tratar y prevenir la infección de manera efectiva. Ambas estrategias tienen como objetivo proporcionar un puente para las personas infectadas, dado que se prevé que una vacuna segura y efectiva esté a 12-18 meses de distancia. Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web del Fondo Vanderbilt Health COVID-19.

🔹 El Departamento de Trabajo y Desarrollo Laboral de Tennessee ha publicado datos sobre nuevas solicitudes de desempleo en todo el estado. Para la semana que terminó el 28 de marzo, hubo 94,492 nuevos reclamos presentados en todo el estado; eso es más de 39,096 la semana anterior. También para la semana que terminó el 28 de marzo, hubo 4,749 nuevas reclamaciones presentadas en el noreste de Tennessee.

Lee mas

El gobernador Bill Lee fortalece el orden de quedarse en casa

Serie de desafíos «Stayin’ In but Workin ’Out»

Rogersville entre cuatro ubicaciones de pruebas COVID-19 del departamento de salud NET

Los supervisores de Scott aprueban las reuniones electrónicas durante el brote

Balada confirma la segunda muerte de COVID-19

Los tribunales se adaptan a medida que se extiende la orden de emergencia de la Corte Suprema de Virginia

Eastman anuncia la muerte del miembro del equipo de Kingsport debido a COVID-19

El gobernador Bill Lee ordena a los tenneses quedarse en casa

Sullivan lanza sitio web de aprendizaje remoto, distribuye dispositivos

ETSU anuncia dos casos de COVID-19

Los voluntarios de Hawkins distribuyen 500 máscaras faciales gratuitas a pesar de la escasez elástica

Miércoles 1 de abril

Cambios de horario

🔹 Día de pesca para niños en Natural Tunnel State Park ha sido cancelado. El evento estaba previamente programado para el 25 de abril.

🔹 La nueva fecha límite para la aplicación de REAL ID es el 1 de octubre de 2021. Declaración del secretario interino Chad Wolf sobre la fecha límite de cumplimiento de REAL ID: “Debido a las circunstancias resultantes de la pandemia de COVID-19 y la declaración de emergencia nacional, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional, según las instrucciones del presidente Donald J. Trump, está extendiendo el cumplimiento de REAL ID fecha límite más allá de la fecha límite actual del 1 de octubre de 2020. He determinado que los estados requieren un retraso de 12 meses y que la nueva fecha límite para la aplicación de REAL ID es el 1 de octubre de 2021. DHS publicará un aviso de la nueva fecha límite en el Registro Federal en los próximos días «.

🔹 Renovaciones de vehículos motorizados de Tennessee que vencen en marzo o abril se han extendido hasta el 15 de junio de 2020, debido a la actual pandemia de COVID-19. Governor Bill Lee extended the deadline for obtaining these renewals through Executive Order No. 15. “We appreciate our continued partnership with Tennessee’s 95 county clerks in administering vehicle title and registration across the state,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. “We hope this extension of time will alleviate people’s concerns about renewing their registrations in the near term, so they can focus on their health and safety.” To protect the health and safety of the public as well as county clerk staff amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the department strongly encourages motorists to renew online at tncountyclerk.com.

🔹 Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) announced his monthly constituent services outreach for Sullivan County, normally scheduled for 9-11 a.m. at the Slater Community Center, will be handled remotely for the month of April. This is not a cancellation of constituent service hours, but another way the congressman can effectively assist his constituents with the extraordinary measures put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Congressman Roe’s staff continues to be available for designated office hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to assist First District constituents. To speak with one of the district representatives in the Kingsport office call (423) 247-8161. All telephone messages left will be returned in a timely manner.

🔹 Due to the current coronavirus concerns, the Bloomingdale Ruritan Club has postponed its annual Easter egg hunt. The event was previously scheduled for April 11. A new date will be decided on later as the current situation dictates.

🔹 Due to current COVID-19 issues, evening hours at Watauga Orthopaedics will be temporarily suspended at its Kingsport and Bristol offices effective March 30. Appointments and walk-in care will continue to be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Johnson City office will continue to operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome during these hours. Weekday appointments are available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Physical therapy will maintain its current hours of operation by appointment at all three locations.

News updates

🔹 Current Department of Health testing results (as of 2 p.m., April 1) shows 2,683 cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee. Of those cases, 62 are in Northeast Tennessee, including 21 in Washington County, 17 in Sullivan County, 15 in Greene County, 5 in Hawkins County, 2 in Johnson County, 1 in Carter County and 1 in Unicoi County.

🔹 Gov. Bill Lee, during his daily update, reminded Tennesseans that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and all Tennesseans are encouraged to be vigilant during this time of seclusion and social distancing and to call the Child Abuse Hotline (1-877-237-0004) if they suspect any incidents of child abuse or neglect. Reports can also be made online at tn.gov/dcs or by using the MyTN app.

🔹 The Virginia State Police encourages all Virginians to adhere to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s directives and do their part by staying home in order to best mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 within the Commonwealth. State troopers, for their personal protection and for the safety of the public, are minimizing their direct contact with the public. All department recruitment events, public presentations, training, ceremonies, etc., have been canceled or postponed through June 10. Virginia State Police will not be making random traffic stops on vehicles nor conducting checkpoints to determine if a driver is traveling for a permissible reason. For any additional questions related to the statewide “Stay at Home” order, go to www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/faq.

🔹 To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Appalachian Orthopedics is remaining open to reduce ER and traditional urgent care traffic for area residents with bone, joint and muscle concerns. A screening process has been set up for patients to go through upon arrival to keep sick or at-risk patients out of the office. Systems are in place to avoid crowded waiting rooms, and every exam room is sterilized between patient visits.

🔹 The Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, has made available more than $16 million to help Virginia public safety agencies and local government agencies respond to the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19. The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) program, authorized by the recent stimulus legislation signed by President Trump, will allow eligible state, local and tribal governments to apply immediately for these critical funds. Allowable projects and expenditures include, but are not limited to overtime, training, travel expenses, supplies, including personal protective equipment for medical personnel and first responders, and initiatives focused on addressing the medical needs of inmates in state and local detention centers.

🔹 Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch has declared a state of local emergency and issued a «Safer at Home» directive. This order will close all non-essential businesses and restrict travel outside of the home.

🔹 With an increase in regional COVID-19 testing capacity, ETSU Health will close its drive-through COVID-19 testing site, located at 325 North State of Franklin, effective April 1. While the drive-through site will no longer be open, ETSU Health will continue to administer COVID-19 testing in its clinics. Since its opening on March 17, ETSU Health’s drive-through site has administered approximately 500 COVID-19 tests. The site was one of the first drive-through testing sites in Tennessee and was instrumental in detecting the first few cases of community spread of COVID-19 in the Appalachian Highlands.

🔹 Starting this week, Ballad Health will be among the first healthcare systems in the nation to deploy rapid testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Instead of test results for COVID-19 taking five to seven days, this new rapid molecular test, developed by diagnostics company Cepheid, will provide patients in the Appalachian Highlands with test results in five to seven hours.

🔹 The Kroger Co. and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union announced a new increase to the pay and benefits for more than 8,000 Tennessee grocery workers at Kroger stores across the state. This victory for more than 460,000 Kroger grocery workers nationwide was secured by UFCW, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail and other industries. “Following talks between UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, and Kroger, UFCW is proud to join the company today in announcing a $2 per hour wage increase, additional emergency paid leave, new workplace safety measures, and other critical worker protections,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone.

🔹 The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at East Tennessee State University has partnered with the College of Business and Technology’s Department of Management and Marketing to provide guidance, information and resources to small businesses in the region amidst the COVID-19 crisis. On Thursday, April 2, from 4-5 p.m., the TSBDC is offering a free Zoom webinar to explain the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan. The webinar is designed to help small businesses navigate the COVID-19 crisis by assisting them in the SBA Disaster Loan application process. This session is geared toward small business owners who are thinking about applying for the loan, as well as those who have started the process but may have questions or lack the proper documentation. The webinar is free and pre-registration is required. For more information, or to register for the webinar, contact Mark Bays, TSBDC director, at (423) 439-8505 or [email protected].

🔹 University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd – in consultation with chancellors at UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin and the UT Health Science Center – has announced that summer session classes at all campuses will be delivered online in response to COVID-19. At UTHSC, clinical rotations in hospitals will continue with students following COVID-19 protocol. Each campus will be sending out specific communications to their faculty, students and staff regarding the impact to its respective campuses. The UT System has a comprehensive resource guide that provides information and resources surrounding COVID-19: tennessee.edu/coronavirus.

🔹 As we continue being socially distant, Visit Kingsport is urging neighbors to step out on their porch or yard each night at 6 p.m. to wave to your neighbors. We are all in this fight together, so get outside and say hello (a safe six feet away). Follow Kingsport Strong on Facebook for updates about Kingsport’s Wave Movement and to share your waves.

🔹 Reeves Surgery Center, a multiuse facility operated by Dr. Donny Reeves, M.D. of Reeves Eye Institute, has expanded to offer telehealth to the Tri-Cities community. The facility has implemented insurance-covered and HIPAA-compliant telecommunications to perform routine eye appointments, primary care and COVID-19 pre-screening to provide access to needed medical attention during recommended social distancing practices, to continue to provide a service to existing patients and to ease stress on regional testing centers and reassure the public.

Lee mas

Absentee ballot requests on rise for May elections in Southwest Virginia

Northam: Protective gear shortage, elections, census complicate Virginia’s pandemic response

Spotlight on the Arts: The show must go on

Tennessee Department of Health reporting 2,683 COVID-19 cases, including 62 in NET

Most county clerk services available online, by mail

Ballad Health to deploy rapid testing for COVID-19

Adoptions doubled at Hawkins animal shelter after COVID-19 quarantines began

Need to get out of the house? You can still go golfing

Kingsport school board approves employee pay during pandemic

Bills coming due? Some tips to survive financially

Tuesday, March 31

Schedule changes

🔹 The Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department is postponing registration for its summer program due to the current COVID-19 situation. Parents who are interested in enrolling their child or children should check the parks and recreation website for updates. If you have any questions, contact Renee Ensor at (423) 224-2489. For more information, visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

🔹 In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Tennessee Department of Revenue has extended the tax filing and payment deadlines for certain taxes. The filing deadlines for Franchise and Excise Tax and Hall Income Tax returns originally due April 15, 2020, have been extended to July 15, 2020. Interest and late filing penalties will not be applied to returns filed and payments made on or before this extended due date. More information regarding deadline extensions for these taxes can be found in important notice #20-05 and important notice #20-06 on the department’s website. The filing deadline for Business Tax returns originally due April 15, 2020, has been extended to June 15, 2020. The Business Tax is a tax on gross receipts and applies to most businesses that sell goods or services. More information regarding this extension can be found in important notice #20-07. Beyond extending certain tax deadlines, the department is available to assist business owners who may be unable to pay their taxes or who file them past the deadline. Taxpayers can request penalty waivers or ask for a payment plan that provides monthly payments over time. The department will review these requests on a case-by-case basis to ensure taxpayers needs are best met.

🔹 The April committee and board meetings of the Tri-Cities Airport Authority have been canceled due to the current concerns about COVID-19 and Gov. Bill Lee’s recent direction to suspend all large gatherings. In a memo, Executive Director Gene Cossey said, “We will assess the situation and resume meetings in June.”

News updates

🔹 Per the Executive Order from Gov. Bill Lee and at the decision of the city of Kingsport officials, playgrounds within the city will begin closing April 1. The playgrounds will be closed until further notice. City park spaces, including Bays Mountain Park and the Greenbelt, will remain open, and residents are encouraged to visit in small groups and continue practicing social distancing. Kingsport would like to remind all residents to continue to follow the best practices, including washing hands correctly and as often as possible, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, leaving home only for necessary trips and of course practicing social distancing in public spaces. For more information, visit www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response.

🔹 Current department of health testing results in Tennessee (as of 2 p.m., March 30) show 2,239 positive cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee, including 175 hospitalizations and 23 fatalities. The latest statistics show four cases in Hawkins County, two cases in Johnson County, 13 cases in Sullivan County, 14 cases in Washington County, one case in Carter County and one case in Unicoi County. Please note: State numbers are updated at 2 p.m. daily and there may be a lag in the reporting of cumulative numbers at the state level.

🔹 The Virginia Department of Corrections late Tuesday received its first positive COVID-19 test results for incarcerated offenders. Three offenders at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, Virginia, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Three VADOC employees and one contractor have also tested positive for COVID-19. The employees include one officer in training at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women (VCCW); one correctional officer at Indian Creek Correctional Center; and one employee at the Norfolk Probation and Parole office. The contractor is a contract nurse at VCCW. All VADOC facilities are operating on modified lockdown in order to minimize contact between groups of offenders from different buildings, and Virginia Correctional Enterprises is manufacturing tens of thousands of sneeze/cough guard masks for use by Virginia DOC staff and offenders.

🔹 The United States Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Tennessee a grant to provide mobile behavioral health care units for rural counties in East and West Tennessee. These mobile units will expand services Tennessee provides through partnerships with non-profits. Tennessee’s front-line crisis services system is well-equipped to meet the needs of Tennesseans. Available resources include a 24-7 crisis phone line (855-CRISIS-1 or 855-274-7471), mobile crisis for both adults and children and youth, crisis walk-in centers, crisis stabilization units, and crisis respite.

🔹 Effective immediately, Ballad Health and Niswonger Children’s Hospital will allow only one visitor in its neonatal intensive care unit, as well as rooms with pediatric patients throughout the health system. The approved visitor must be a parent or guardian. Labor and delivery units will continue to allow one designated visitor per room subject to a health screening before entering, to ensure they’re in good health. No visitors are permitted in our inpatient hospital units, long-term care facilities or behavioral health centers. Exceptions for extenuating circumstances must be made on a case-by-case basis. All Ballad Health childbirth preparation and breastfeeding courses offered to the community will no longer be provided in person. We are in the process of creating a video option.

🔹 First Horizon Foundation announced today that it is donating $2.5 million in support of COVID-19 emergency relief efforts to nonprofit organizations throughout its footprint. In the Tri-Cities, $5,000 was donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee to help those who need additional food assistance.

🔹 The Mount Rogers Health District of the Virginia Department of Health is reporting the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Carroll County, a second case in Wythe County, and a third case in Washington County, Virginia. There are no community contacts of concern in these cases, and there is no evidence of community transmission in these counties at this time.

🔹 Frontier Health’s Holston Counseling Center and Holston Children & Youth Services in Kingsport is offering telephonic and/or tele-video services for therapy, Intensive Outpatient programs, medication management, care coordination/case management and peer support. This allows those in the community to receive these needed services from the safety of their own homes.

🔹 An individual who applies for unemployment benefits in Tennessee must do weekly certifications in order to receive benefits. These certifications are necessary to ensure a claimant is eligible to receive benefits for that week, which lessens the chance of having an overpayment. Claimants can complete the certification process on their smartphone. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has a smartphone app that allows claimants to easily complete their weekly certifications without having to use a computer or internet service. The Jobs4TN mobile app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

🔹 As part of the world’s collective effort to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Eastman recently partnered with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and Austin Peay State University to support the local production of 10,000 protective face shields for medical personnel in the state capital of Nashville. The partnership comes after THEC informed Eastman they had used and exhausted all the local supply of acetate sheet – the large, clear plastic shield that attaches to the headband – from local retailers. Together, the goal is to produce 10,000 face shields in two weeks using 3D printers at colleges and universities around the state.

Lee mas

Editorial: Listen to the pros, not politicians and pundits

MLB extends financial support to minor leaguers

Eastman partners to make face shields for Nashville

Tuesday Trivia: How much toilet paper do you need?

Ballad identifies cluster of positive COVID-19 cases in Hawkins, including three hospital workers

Hawkins volunteers need donations of elastic to continue making surgical masks

TDH latest report shows 2,239 COVID-19 cases in Tennessee

Time out — Kingsport removes rims from outdoor basketball goals

U.S. death toll from the virus eclipses China’s official count

Monday was middle school parade day in Kingsport

Ballad Health reports first death due to COVID-19

Roe: Federal government needs ‘wartime’ mentality to deal with coronavirus

New Hawkins school lunch schedule includes pick-up and deliveries, less ‘exposure’

Monday, March 30

Schedule changes

🔹 The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are temporarily shutting down trailhead facilities and other access points to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to prevent groups from congregating and to protect public health and safety. The decision aligns with state and local measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, many recreation opportunities are still open for public use, including dispersed camping and other activities that support social distancing and small groups. “We realize our communities and our visitors value the recreation opportunities the forest has to offer,” said Joby Timm, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Supervisor. “A lot of consideration went into this decision. The health and safety of our employees and the public remain our top priority.” For a list of access sites affected by this closure, check here.

🔹 The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy’s (DMME) Big Stone Gap and Lebanon offices will limit office hours beginning Tuesday, March 31 through April 30. This is in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. The agency requests customers first use online services for payments or call to make a credit card payment. For customers that do not have that option, the offices will receive and receipt those payments on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 11 a.m. Certifications needing renewed will be extended through April 30. “Coal miners and companies needing proof of certifications can find those on our website by searching their name. Coal and gas companies needing to make payments should do so through DMME’s accompanying e-forms systems… The work of our agency will continue during this time. DMME employees will be working in the field and from home and available via phone and email. An emergency contact list is available on DMME’s website.

News updates

🔹 Current department of health testing results in Tennessee (as of 2 p.m., March 30) show 1,834 positive cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee, including 148 hospitalizations and 13 fatalities. The latest statistics show four cases in Hawkins County, two cases in Johnson County, 11 cases in Sullivan County, 14 cases in Washington County and one case in Unicoi County.

🔹 The Virginia Department of Health’s Mount Rogers Health District announced a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in Smyth County. The case is an employee of the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute. The SWVMHI and Virginia Department of Health have been working closely together to ensure that employees and patients that are close contacts to the case have been notified and provided guidance on isolation and quarantine by the Mount Rogers Health District.

Lee mas

NCAA to give spring sports athletes extra year of eligibility

Hay fever or virus? Season of worry for allergy sufferers

Safer at Home order issued in Sullivan

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issues 2-week ‘safer at home’ order, closes non-essential businesses

Northeast State classes will remain online for summer semester

Johnson City, Washington County issue safer at home orders

KOSBE ready to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19

UPDATED: Northam issues stay-at-home order for Virginia residents

Contracted Sullivan bus drivers may not be paid during closure

Hawkins sheriff doesn’t anticipate problems enforcing Emergency Declaration

Sullivan schools to distribute digital devices

Sunday, March 29

News updates

🔹 The Virginia Department of Health’s Mount Rogers Health District announced that a resident of the district, a man in his 80s who was ill with COVID-19, has died. “Sadly, we have experienced our first local COVID-19-related fatality. We send our sincere condolences to this person’s family,” said Karen Shelton, M.D., director of the Mount Rogers Health District. “Unfortunately those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19,” said Shelton. “Everyone, especially at-risk individuals, are strongly advised to take steps to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.” For more information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. Please note: This fatality is not yet reflected in the VDH website dashboard, which is updated daily with cases recorded by 5 p.m. the evening before.

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Going the (social) distance

King for a day at the hoarder-ravaged Stone Drive Walmart

Country singer Diffie dies of coronavirus complications

Two Eastman employees test positive for COVID-19

How do you homeschool when you never have? Moms offer advice

NET health departments ask public to call prior to arrival for appointments

Saturday, March 28

Schedule changes

🔹 The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in North Carolina, and the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee are temporarily shutting down trailhead facilities and other access points to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to prevent groups from congregating and to protect public health and safety. The decision aligns with state and local measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

News updates

🔹 The Northeast Regional Health Office has confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 28 in Carter and Johnson counties. Carter County has 1 case and Johnson County has 1 case. To date there have been 33 cases throughout the region. In addition to Carter and Johnson, there are 8 cases in Greene County, 2 cases in Hawkins County, 6 cases in Sullivan County, 1 case in Unicoi County and 14 cases in Washington County. Several of the cases have no history of travel or contact with a known case, indicating likely spread in the community throughout the region. As of March 28, six cases have been hospitalized, two of whom are still currently hospitalized.

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Southwest Virginia health districts activate COVID-19 call centers

United Way of Greater Kingsport establishes COVID-19 relief fund

‘Virginians, you need to stay at home’ – Northam warns of COVID-19 testing delays, protective gear shortages

City officials concerned about public following social distancing in parks

Eastman asks community to be example of social distancing to help stop spread of COVID-19

Goodwill Tenneva closes stores in response to COVID-19 outbreak

Hanks, Wilson back in U.S. after coronavirus isolation

Country singer Diffie tests positive for coronavirus

Friday, March 27

Schedule changes

🔹 A portion of the Cherohala Skyway (SR165) has been closed to thru traffic. “Motorists heading into North Carolina from Monroe and Blount counties need to be aware of closures that are now in place. Graham County in North Carolina is currently prohibiting traffic from entering the county. Cherohala Skyway (SR 165) in Monroe County is now closed at the TN/NC state line. Motorists on US 129 in Blount County can enter North Carolina in Swain County, but will be stopped at the Graham County line,” TDOT’s Mark Nagi announced Friday. «Information will be updated as it becomes available on the TDOT SmartWay system.

🔹 Ballad Health, Bristol Tennessee City Schools and Bristol Virginia Public Schools are following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization guidelines regarding the novel coronavirus and large gatherings and are canceling the Power of Health Expo and Power of Play 5K set for April 25 at Bristol Regional Medical Center. Preregistered participants for the Power of Play 5K will be contacted by the event organizers to receive their registration refund.

🔹 Jonesborough’s new StoryTown Podcast has decided to reach out and ask listeners to share their own stories for future episodes. The podcast aims to help listeners escape and travel through geography and time through the magic of storytelling. This one-hour storytelling program is filled with true-life adventures of people past and present from Jonesborough, Tennessee, and the surrounding Southern Appalachian Region. If you would like to listen to the StoryTown Podcast for yourself, visit storytown.simplecast.com and then share your own story to appear on a future episode.

News updates

🔹 BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee warns members that scammers are taking advantage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and to be alert of potential scam activity. Reported scams include unsolicited phone calls that could be an attempt to fraudulently gain personal information. BlueCross is urging members and customers not to give personal information to these callers. BlueCross has shared this alert on its COVID-19 resource website, bcbstupdates.com. Anyone receiving a suspicious call should report it to the BlueCross Fraud Unit at 1-888-343-4221.

🔹 The Tennessee Public Utility Commission ordered private-investor owned natural gas, electric, water and wastewater utility companies to suspend the disconnection of utility services due to nonpayment during Tennessee’s state of emergency status invoked by Gov. Bill Lee. The commission’s regulatory jurisdiction and authority extends only to private investor-owned public utilities and not to utilities services provided by any city, county, utility district or cooperative entity.

🔹 COVID-19 (coronavirus) has disrupted the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Public cookie booths were suspended halfway through the booth sales. This disruption means that troops across Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians’ 46-county footprint have nearly 300,000 boxes of delicious cookies on hand that need to find a home. A digital cookie store has now been launched that will allow the community to go online and purchase cookies that consumers can donate or purchase for delivery at a later date, when it is safe to do so. This will help local troops in our community move their cookie inventory and fund their Girl Scout experiences for the year. Visit girlscoutcsa.org and click on “Digital Cookie” banner.

🔹 The United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) has been helping the community for over 85 years. Now, with the cumulative effects of COVID-19 yet unknown, UWGK is launching the UWGK COVID-19 Relief Fund to increase efforts in their fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in the community. “The fund will support community organizations that are working to meet the needs of individuals affected by COVID-19 in the Greater Kingsport area,” said UWGK Executive Director Danelle Glasscock. “For both immediate needs and longer-term response, these funds will be focused on assisting vulnerable populations, including children, families, individuals experiencing homelessness, the elderly and ALICE.” ALICE, an acronym coined by United Way, represents all who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This demographic is made of men, women and families who work hard and earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living. For individuals or corporations interested in donating, they can visit the UWGK website www.uwaykpt.org/covid19relieffund or text “HELPING” to 303-06.

🔹 BenchMark Physical Therapy continues to operate seven outpatient clinics in the Tri-Cities area as physical therapy is considered an essential service during the coronavirus pandemic. However, BenchMark also is using telehealth to see patients from the comfort and safety of their homes. Under the direct supervision of a physical therapist, patients are connecting one-on-one using a phone, computer or tablet and a secure internet connection to discuss symptoms, progress and home-exercise programs on a video call. To schedule a telehealth appointment with a BenchMark therapist, contact your nearest clinic by visiting urpt.com/telehealth.

🔹 The Birthplace of Country Music Museum has created several activities to help students and families stay busy in an engaging and fun way. Each activity is related to aspects of museum content, from songwriting and the banjo to important figures from the 1927 Bristol Sessions and Radio Bristol. Activity sheets and videos can be found at www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org.

🔹 The Cumberland Plateau and Lenowisco Health Districts have activated public health call centers to answer questions and provide information about COVID-19 and related issues, including symptoms, how to minimize the risk of exposure for yourself and your loved ones, local and statewide conditions, testing resources and how they are used, and what to do if you think you may be ill. The Lenowisco Health District call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at (276) 415-3430.

🔹 The Bristol, Tennessee Department of Parks and Recreation has introduced a series of exercise videos and social media activities designed to keep community members active during the coronavirus outbreak, along with a reminder that more than 30 scenic city parks remain open to the public. The videos are available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watchBTNTV and are being shown periodically on the City’s BTN-TV, available to BTES cable subscribers on channel 16 and to Charter/Spectrum subscribers on channel 192. And while Slater Community Center and the Steele Creek Nature Center are currently closed, all City parks remain open to the public. Gate fees at Steele Creek Park are currently being waived, and Steele Creek Golf Course is operating during regular business hours with standard fees. The only change is that shelter and equipment rentals, including golf carts, have been suspended.

🔹 The Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development has a comprehensive list of resources on TNECD.com for Tennessee employers and workers. Updates will be made to the resource page on a regular basis.

🔹 The Tennessee Forestry Commission will meet by electronic means April 7, 2020, at 9 a.m. CDT. This measure serves to protect the health and safety of citizens and government officials during the COVID-19 emergency response. The meeting is open to public participation via an internet-based teleconferencing system. There is no cost to participants. The agenda includes approval of the previous meeting minutes, formulation of nursery seedling production for 2021 – 2022 and pricing for 2020 – 2021, and appointment of a nomination committee to select new Commission officers. The Tennessee Forestry Commission comprises seven members representing the public’s interests as they relate to forest resources in the state. The commission advises the Tennessee Department of Agriculture on forest issues. For more information, contact the Division of Forestry at (615) 837-5520 or visit www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/commission.html.

🔹 USDA Rural Development has launched a COVID-19 resource page to keep customers, partners and stakeholders continuously updated on actions taken by the agency to help rural residents, businesses and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions and more.

🔹 To protect customers, employees and the community, First Bank & Trust Company closed lobbies to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The bank’s offices are conducting business through drive thru facilities and may offer extended banking hours, if needed. Office staff is available to meet with customers by appointment. Customers can call their local branch or their loan officer to arrange a time. First Bank & Trust Company is also providing loan modification options on a case-by-case basis to address liquidity needs while businesses weather this health crisis. Electronic banking options are available for consumers and businesses alike who are practicing social distancing.

🔹 Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association (JAMA) is in need of non-perishable food donations and volunteers. It has also extended food pick-up hours to assist with the growing need. The organization’s biggest needs are sugar, self-rising flour, cornmeal, evaporated milk, any kind of canned meat, spaghetti O’s, canned ravioli, jelly in plastic containers and bread; donations can be dropped off at Jonesborough Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday or Jonesborough United Methodist Church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Monetary donations for food can be sent to JAMA FOOD PANTRY P.O. Box 151 Jonesborough, TN 37659. With the increasing need to serve families, JAMA has set a second distribution day. In addition to the normal distribution day each Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., they have added Tuesday afternoons from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., which will begin March 31. The JAMA Food Pantry serves residents holding a Jonesborough, Telford or Limestone address. Volunteer opportunities are available for checking ID’s, packing food boxes/bags and stocking shelves. For more information about volunteering and the Food Pantry as a whole, call Pastor Karen Lane, JAMA president, at (423) 753-3942.

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Trump signs $2.2T stimulus after swift congressional votes

Kingsport City Schools feeding program resumes after tweaks

Just when they needed it most, no spring practice for Bucs

On the home front: Volunteers supply needed masks, sanitizer

ABB plant in Rogersville to reopen after ‘deep cleaning’, COVID-19 screening

Hawkins County confirms second case of COVID-19

Let’s self-isolate at the drive-in – Central Drive-In opens for business with legal blessing, COVID-19 safeguards

House passes $2.2T rescue package, rushes it to Trump

COVID-19 hits community spread mark in Sullivan County

Ballad Health reports new COVID-19 cases, warns of ‘community spread’

Rogersville’s ‘sewing soldiers’ seek new recruits for surgical mask production

Northeast, STREAMWORKS, others in 3D face shield partnership

LaGuardia, McClay say a late soccer restart is doable

Thursday, March 26

Schedule changes

🔹 The Oasis of Kingsport Women’s Ministry will open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow homeless ladies to use the shower facility only. “We may open a second day if we find one day isn’t sufficient for this service,” the agency announced. “We will not be open for regular services until further notice. Safety procedures have been put in place to help protect our volunteers and our homeless clients for showers.” … The Oasis will not be open for its PERKs program or classes at this time and will only serve those women classified as homeless without access to shower facility.

🔹 George Washington and Jefferson National Forest officials are temporarily shutting down use of all campgrounds, bathrooms, OHV trails, trail shelters and many day-use areas. Campgrounds and picnic shelters are temporarily unavailable for reservation on Recreation.gov. Those already holding reservations will be notified as soon as possible, and refunds will be processed. Processing refunds may be delayed, however, due to the volume of cancellations. Contact a District Office for status updates on George Washington and Jefferson National Forests facilities and sites, or visit www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/gwj/recreation.

🔹 HomeTrust Bank implemented the following steps to help safeguard customers and employees beginning Friday, March 20: 1) Customers are directed to drive-thru lanes at branches for in-person transactions. 2) Lobby services are available by appointment. To schedule an appointment, customers can call (800) 627-1632 and press #. 3) Saturday branch hours will be temporarily suspended beginning Saturday, March 28. 4) Customers are encouraged to utilize HomeTrust’s 24-hour ATMs and online and mobile services.

🔹 The Johnson City Symphony Orchestra canceled its April 18 concert. «During this time of social distancing, the JCSO is completing our planning for an exciting 2020-2021 season. We are re-booking the world-renowned violinist Melissa White and carrying our tribute concerts to Ralph Van Brocklin and Mitch Link into next season. We will also be presenting fresh, new collaborations along with your orchestral favorites. Due to the extreme financial impact of concert cancellations, we ask patrons, whenever possible, to consider donating the cost of your ticket (and receiving a tax deduction for the total ticket value). Should you wish, instead, to exchange your tickets (by way of a voucher for our 2020-2021 season) or request a refund, please email [email protected] with your request. We do not need the physical tickets to process requests. Refunds will be issued in 30-60 days.”

🔹 The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced late Wednesday that 2020 spring turkey hunting season is set to open for business in Tennessee beginning Saturday, April 4. Turkey hunting is an excellent way to keep social distance, enjoy the outdoors, and take part in a popular activity which has seen tremendous growth in recent years. «The coronavirus outbreak has affected many aspects of normal life. Fortunately for the thousands of Tennesseans who head to the woods each spring in pursuit of the wily game bird, the season will go on as scheduled through May 17. Conditions have forced a change in that turkey check stations at wildlife management areas will not be operational this year. “We are in extraordinary times that none of us have ever seen before,” said Ed Carter, the TWRA’s executive director. “At TWRA, we have taken precautions while still providing essential services to the public and our resources. We are pleased that our spring turkey season will go on as scheduled as it adheres to guidelines of social distancing and other recommendations.” New requirement this year is “Tag Before You Drag” where hunters tag their big game animal in the field prior to moving. They will be able to use the TWRA on the Go app to simply E-tag and report their harvest in the field in one easy step, with or without cell phone service, prior to moving. If you do not have a phone, attach one of the temporary transportations tags that printed at the bottom of your license this year and you have until midnight on the same day of the harvest to check in online at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com.

News updates

🔹 Gov. Bill Lee announced the state of Tennessee is spearheading a public-private partnership with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, Tennessee Retail Association, and Hospitality TN to create the Tennessee Talent Exchange powered by Jobs4TN.gov. The goal of the exchange is to quickly match Tennesseans who are out of work due to COVID-19 with companies currently experiencing a surge in business and making immediate hires. The Department of Labor & Workforce Development has modified the state’s workforce development website to quickly post job openings and match job seekers with employers. Additional information can be found here.

🔹 Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 20 to ensure Tennessee can further mobilize health care workers to fight COVID-19. The executive order accomplishes these actions, among others: 1) Loosens restrictions around retired medical professionals to help get qualified individuals back in the workforce. 2) Temporarily suspends continuing education requirements so professionals can continue working through the pandemic. 3) Calls for the availability of phone assessments for individuals with mental illness or emotional disturbances. 4) Expands telemedicine efforts so that all licensed providers may utilize telemedicine during COVID-19 as long as they are practicing within their normal scope of practice.

🔹 The Virginia Department of Health’s Mount Rogers Health District announced Thursday a new confirmed case of COVID-19 in the district. The patient is a Bristol City resident who contracted the illness during out-of-state travel. The person is self-isolating at home and there is no concern over community contact. “We continue to see new cases of COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth, and it’s now in our area. This reminds us how very critical it is that people follow public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said Karen Shelton, M.D., director of the Mount Rogers Health District. “Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in limiting the spread of COVID-19, and lessening the impact of this pandemic.”

🔹 The Tennessee Department of Health reported that there are 957 cases of coronavirus across the state, including three deaths and 76 hospitalizations. Local cases include four in Sullivan County, nine in Washington County, one in Hawkins County, one in Unicoi County and eight in Greene County.

🔹 The Tennessee Valley Authority announced an initiative to support increased flexibility for local power companies who are responding to urgent community and customer needs during the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak. TVA will make up to a total of $1 billion of credit support available as an option to local power companies through the deferral of wholesale power payments based on the needs of individual local power companies. Detailed plans will be customized for each participating local power company based on individual needs and financial impacts. A portion of the local power company’s monthly TVA wholesale power payments would be deferred for a period during the ongoing COVID-19 response and an appropriate repayment plan will be put in place. The new initiative builds on actions TVA has already taken to provide regulatory flexibility to allow local power companies to halt disconnection of electric service and respond quickly to their customers’ immediate needs.

🔹 The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released data on new unemployment claims by region for the week ending March 21. There were 1,616 new claims in Northeast Tennessee.

🔹 The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced announced two new tools documenting the spread of COVID-19 at the regional and county levels. The first tool, the COVID-19 Cases in Appalachia map, displays the current number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Appalachia and throughout the U.S. This map is automatically updated throughout the day by drawing on data collected by the Johns Hopkins University. As of March 26 at 1:30 p.m., there were 1,686 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 208 Appalachian counties. The second tool, Explore County-level Coronavirus Impact Planning searchable database, presents a demographic data snapshot of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in relation to hospital bed counts, population and businesses, and categories of people at risk for COVID-19 in infographic form for each one of the nation’s counties. These tools, as well as other ARC updates in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, are available at arc.gov/coronavirus.

🔹 During this time of quarantine, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency understands the hardship individuals are experiencing due to many county offices offering limited services and/or closing. If you are needing to pay sales tax on your vessel, the TWRA is encouraging you to call your county clerk’s office to ensure they are open and that they will be able to assist prior to leaving your home. Be advised that the law states, “In order for your vessel to be legal for operation on Tennessee waterways, applicable Tennessee sales tax must be paid and application must be submitted to the TWRA for registration.” However, following the Governor’s Executive Order and any further direction given through future Executive Orders, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has authorized Agency personnel to temporarily forgive those who aren’t registered because of these closures. As such, it is advised that you keep a photo copy of your bill of sale in your vessel until such time that clerks reopen and taxes may be paid. This will allow you to present proof of ownership to an officer should you be stopped.

🔹 The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has developed a website to support farmers who are making critical decisions and business adjustments. The free resource list is available at tiny.utk.edu/CPA-COVID19. Other publications and resources to help families navigate the COVID-19 crisis are available online at utextension.tennessee.edu or by contacting your local county Extension office.

🔹 The Carter County Sheriff’s Office is offering an elder care program as an additional safety net for seniors whose lives and relationships have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program allows seniors to receive welfare checks from deputies on a weekly-monthly basis. Currently, those checks are being conducted by phone only to minimize the risk of spreading disease.

🔹 The Health Wagon is committed to being responsive to the needs of patients, staff and community as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Before the time that the COVID-19 virus was deemed pandemic, the Health Wagon was hastily implementing new policies and procedures to keep patients, employees and partners safe. The Health Wagon has implemented increased sanitizing and disinfecting of stationary and mobile clinics; this continues to be the top priority. In addition, employees are practicing crucial social distancing while seeing patients via many different modalities including telehealth (access at www.thehealthwagon.org) and phone consults at this time. Those who have a smart telephone or computer can connect to providers Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you do not have a smart telephone or computer, the Smiddy Clinic in Wise (5626 Patriot Drive, Wise, VA 24293) and Clintwood Clinic (233 Chase Street, Clintwood, VA 24228) is open with iPads for you to connect to a provider from the lobby area. “We ask that you call ahead in advance to discuss your health care needs,” a statement reads. “We are also asking that patients do not bring guests or allow guests in their vehicle as it may be necessary depending of the need to facilitate a visit in your vehicle. If the visit is for a minor, one healthy guardian can accompany during the visit.” The Health Wagon is low on personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically N95 masks, face shields, disinfectant sprays and sanitizing wipes. There is a limited supply of COVID-19 test kits available at the Health Wagon. At this time, if you feel symptomatic and need to be tested, contact Ballad Health at (833) 822-5523.

🔹 The state of Tennessee experienced an unprecedented spike in new initial unemployment claims, according to data released by the United States Department of Labor. For the week ending March 21, 2020, Tennesseans filed 39,096 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits. The week prior, the state received 2,702 new unemployment claims. The latest figure represents a nearly 20 fold increase in week-to-week claims. Nationwide, Americans filed 3,283,000 new unemployment claims, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised national level. Currently, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) is processing these claims as quickly as possible to determine eligibility and distribute benefit payments. TDLWD has added additional resources to help process the influx of new claims, including training 200 department employees to shift their job tasks to unemployment. Soon, nearly one-third of TDLWD employees will work to provide customer service and process new claims. The department is currently expanding capacity and exploring other methods to increase its workforce. The maximum weekly unemployment benefit in Tennessee is $275 before the deduction of federal taxes. Claimants receive this benefit through a debit card or direct deposit to a bank account.

🔹 Mountain Home National Cemetery and other National Cemeteries are stepping up to the challenge of providing service through the pandemic. National Cemetery staff members continue to provide an honorable burial service for veterans and other eligible persons. A statement reads, “We have limited services to direct interments to keep our families and staff member safe. The family is still able to view but there is a limit of 10 persons and no committal service or military honors. We will provide those services for families who wish to proceed after the emergency. We provide world class customer service to our Veterans and their families. Part of our commitment is to keep everyone as safe as possible. We keep visitors safe by assisting them with visiting a gravesite when they are unable to visit on their own, ensuring our facilities are safe and accessible, and in many other ways. The measures we have in effect now are just another way we are keeping everyone safe.”

🔹 The state of Tennessee launched a public service announcement campaign that urges all Tennesseans to adopt preventive health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus. “Do your part, stay apart” features Gov. Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee and Tennessee celebrities like Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway, former NFL Titan Eddie George and Taj George, University of Tennessee athletics director Phil Fulmer and Vicky Fulmer, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith and Cece Winans, among many others. Dozens of music artists, athletes and sports organizations who collectively reach millions of Tennesseans will join the campaign via social media. Like most Tennesseans practicing safe social distancing, the participants have recorded messages from the safety of their homes to emphasize that Tennesseans should stay home as much as possible, avoid gathering with friends, at church or in any unessential activity – and outside the home to maintain a six-foot distance from others. In addition to preventive health behavior, the message encourages Tennessee citizens to watch out for neighbors, especially those who may be vulnerable to illness: “Right now, the best way for us to care for one another is to keep our distance – and take care of our neighbors. Give them a call or video chat. We’re all in this together. Please do your part, by staying apart.” The “Do your part, stay apart” PSA campaign will launch initially on social media and will very soon be supported by broadcast partners Charter Communications (Spectrum) and Comcast, as well as Outdoor Advertising Association Tennessee, which donated poster and digital billboards across the state. Social media handles are #TNStayApart @GovBillLee @TNDeptofHealth.

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Kingsport YMCA providing childcare for healthcare workers, first responders

Let’s talk about social distancing

All Sullivan school employees, bus drivers to be paid during COVID-19 closure

Out-of-school Tenn. students can turn to PBS for instructional content

Milligan College employee tests positive for COVID-19

Governor asks Liberty University to reconsider students’ return to campus

Shutdown extended a week, Hawkins schools now set to reopen April 27

Sullivan school board to hold emergency pay meeting

Tri-Cities mayors, health officials: Area at ‘tipping point’ in COVID-19 battle

Senate passes coronavirus rescue package on unanimous vote

Wednesday, March 25

Schedule changes

🔹 Tennessee State Parks will transition to day-use schedules for all 56 state parks, opening daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The new schedule goes into effect on March 26 and will be in place until at least April 10. During this period, all public gathering spaces such as visitor centers, shelters and playgrounds at state parks will be closed. Additionally, parks cabins, lodges and campgrounds close. Future reservations with arrival dates between now and April 9 will be canceled. The parks will waive cancellation fees during this time. In a statement late Wednesday, Tennessee State Parks announced it is “joining the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Health by encouraging residents not to travel, but to visit only their nearby parks.” The park system is also announcing a series of operational changes effective March 26. “Our state parks are part of the fabric of Tennessee communities and have been an important place of renewal during this crisis,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “The measures announced today will continue to provide healthy outdoor spaces for Tennesseans while providing more protection for our neighbors and our staff. We can do our part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 while continuing to provide open spaces when our neighbors need it most.”

🔹 The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order reiterating that all Tennessee courts will remain open during the coronavirus outbreak, but extending the suspension of most in-person judicial proceedings through April 30. In addition, the order also instructs judges not to take action to move forward cases involving eviction, ejectment or displacement except in exceptional circumstances; includes alternatives for notarizing documents; slightly modifies the list of exceptions to the suspension of in-person hearings; and clarifies that courthouses in Tennessee should remain open for essential hearings and filings, even if some entrances are closed or an appointment must be made to enter.

🔹 The TSSAA announced Wednesday it is urging member schools to continue to follow Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s recommendation and suspend interscholastic athletics through April 24. “On Monday, March 24, Governor Lee extended the statewide school closure to April 24, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consistent with the Governor’s statement, and in the interest of the health and safety of competitors, coaches, officials, and spectators, we urge every member school – both public and independent – to continue to follow the Governor’s recommendation and suspend interscholastic athletics through April 24, 2020. This suspension should include games, scrimmages, practices, and organized workouts or conditioning.”

🔹 The city of Kingsport building department has closed its doors to the public in an effort to protect citizens and staff, but is still open for business. The city encourages the development community to keep in contact with Development Services via phone or email to check on the status of a project or with any questions or concerns. Development Services will do its best to keep all projects moving forward at the best pace possible. It is important to note that there may be a delay in turn-around time for items such as subdivision plats, which require original signatures. This is due to some required signatories working from home during this time. These employees will schedule time to come into the office to sign those documents at their earliest convenience. The county Register of Deeds is only recording documents by appointment at this time. All applications can be found on the city website at the following links: Planning/Development-related applications — www.kingsporttn.gov/planning-commission; Building Department-related applications — www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/building/building-permit-application. The phone number for the Building Division is (423) 229-9393; the number for Planning & Zoning is (423) 229-9485.

🔹 The Kingsport City Schools Board of Education will hold a special called meeting electronically on Tuesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. Members of the board may attend the meeting electronically, including, but not limited to, telephonically. The physical location of the meeting is in the Tennessee Room at the KCS Administrative Support Center, 400 Clinchfield St. The purpose of this electronic special called meeting is to make a determination that meeting electronically is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of Tennesseans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, consider approval for the use of stockpiled days from the 2019-20 school calendar, and to consider approval of a compensation plan for KCS employees during the COVID-19 school closure. The agenda can be accessed at https://go.boarddocs.com/tn/kingscs/Board.nsf/vpublic?open. The regularly scheduled board work session has been cancelled. There will be no physical access permitted to the public at the physical location of the meeting. Members of the public can attend and listen to the meeting electronically via www.k12k.com or watch live on the KCS Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KptSchools). Alternatively, the audio archive of the meeting will be available at www.k12k.com within two business days of the meeting.

🔹 The staff of the First Tennessee Development District will continue to work remotely through the week April 3, 2020. The FTDD offices will reopen on Monday, April 6, should the circumstances warrant. Through Friday, April 3, the FTDD offices, located at 3211 N. Roan St. in Johnson City, will remain closed to all except essential personnel. All district programs and public health services, such CHOICES, CREVAA, Information & Assistance, Options Counseling, and Meals for Seniors, will continue to operate and staff have the capability to work remotely. Preparations over the last week have ensured the district is able to meet the needs of every community across Northeast Tennessee.

🔹 The regular monthly meeting of the Lonesome Pine Regional Library Board of Trustees has been postponed until Thursday, May 7, at 1 p.m.

🔹 The Town of Unicoi has made the following changes: closing of the Unicoi Tourist Information Center, closing of the Bogart-Bowman Cabin, keeping Town Hall open with limited staffing, and holding electronic public meetings. These measures will be in effect immediately and through April 30 at 5 p.m. These measures, and others, may be in effect for extended periods as recommended by the Center for Disease Control, Gov. Bill Lee and the federal government.

News updates

🔹 STREAMWORKS, powered by Eastman in Education, is partnering with some of the region’s largest entities to help combat the impact of the COVID-19 virus in the Appalachian Highlands region. Eastman, Ballad Health, East Tennessee State University, Northeast State Community College and others are coming together to help produce 7,000 face shields to protect healthcare workers in this time of need. There is a shortage of healthcare personal protective equipment due to the overwhelming number of cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Initiatives to connect healthcare providers with the necessary supplies have been attempted online by reallocating supplies from nonessential medical and dental service providers, but the need is still prevalent even in our region. STREAMWORKS is doing its part to fill this shortage by producing face shields using 3D printing and laser cutting technology. At full capacity, STREAMWORKS will be producing 500 face shields per week while maintaining proper social distancing due to the largely automated nature of 3D printing. To aid in this initiative, Ballad Health has purchased two additional high-end 3D-printers.These machines are already running 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and are part of a larger group of volunteers from Eastman, Ballad Health, East Tennessee State University, Northeast State Community College and Spectra3D Technologies from Weaverville, NC., who are all working to help get these face shields into the hands of healthcare workers as soon as possible.

🔹 Regional United Ways have united in a collective response to the pandemic by establishing a regional fund. This fund will be used to support nonprofit organizations across the region that are directly assisting individuals impacted by the pandemic. Both immediate and long-term, these efforts will focus response efforts on vulnerable populations, including children, families and the ALICE population. ALICE, an acronym coined by United Way that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents men, women and families who work hard and earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living. Donors can text NETNSWVARelief to 41444 to give, or give online at NETNSWVARelief.org.

🔹 Due to grocery store shortages, Johnson City and Kingsport’s Texas Roadhouse locations are selling ready-to-grill steaks directly to the public. The ready-to-grill kit includes meat, seasonings and directions for consumers to cook at home. Texas Roadhouse is offering is offering a variety of cuts, including Ribeye, New York Strip and Sirloin. Pork chops will also be available for purchase. Call the restaurant for details, hours and availability, which varies by location. Currently, every Texas Roadhouse location is open daily for Curbside To-Go service and Family Value Packs, which allow guests to pick up food without leaving their cars. Orders can be placed online, through the website or app, or by phone. Family Value Pack, dinners-for-four, start at $19.99 and include a choice of entrée, a large salad, four side dishes, fresh baked rolls and honey cinnamon butter. Entrée options include Cheeseburgers, Grilled Chicken, Chicken Critters, Pulled Pork, Beef Tips, Sirloin Steaks and Ribs.

🔹 Beginning next week, ETSU Health is bringing medical care closer to home for its patients by offering telemedicine appointments. Telemedicine is the use of electronic audio and video communication to provide remote health care services to patients. Currently, the telemedicine services are best for patients having simple visits for medication checks; review of blood pressure or blood sugar control; post-operative follow-up that does not require a physical exam; medication or behavioral health counseling; counseling for a simple medical question or issue; discussion of concern for a respiratory illness and what to do (such as with COVID-19); or a sub-specialist consultation.

🔹 The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is making essential financial resources available to families that have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. Beginning 10 a.m. CST Thursday, March 26, families can begin applying, online, for up to two months of emergency cash assistance if they were employed as of March 11 and they’ve lost employment or at least 50% of their earned income as a result of the pandemic. The department is asking applicants to complete the application process for emergency cash assistance online at https://tdhs.service-now.com/relief?id=relief_registration. Applicants are required to upload their verification to the application prior to submitting to TDHS. Once the application and verifications have been submitted, no further action will be needed. Applicants do not need to call the DHS office for an interview. Applicants will receive a notification of denial or approval via email within five days. If approved, applicants can expect an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card to be sent within five to seven days of approval via mail.

🔹 los Greater Kingsport Family YMCA is offering a modified childcare beginning on Tuesday, March 24, for EMS, law enforcement, fire, hospital staff and other mission-critical workers. This program is for critical use — parents who are first responders or medical personnel or current Y families who need childcare to be able to work and support their families. Enrollment will be limited to physical space and staffing capacity under current CDC guidelines. The information and materials needed to register for Emergency Childcare & Schools Out Camp can be found at www.ymcakpt.org/youth/emergencychildcare. Print and complete all, sign, scan and send to [email protected] If you are unable to print/scan back, email your name and basic information about your children per the application to [email protected]

🔹 The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability is asking healthy Tennesseans to consider volunteering to help seniors across the state. Volunteer opportunities may include the following: 1) Delivering meals, food boxes or household supplies to homebound or at-risk older adults. 2) Telephone Reassurance – Phone calls made from home to check on an older adult and make sure their basic needs are being met. 3) Other volunteer assistance as needed. If you can volunteer to help this vulnerable population, sign up at https://www.tn.gov/aging/learn-about/volunteer-opportunities.html.

🔹 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontier Health will be offering an easier way to access needed services. During this time, it will offer telephonic and/or tele-video services for therapy, intensive outpatient programs, medication management, care coordination/case management and peer support. Frontier is in the process of contacting people who are currently receiving services to give them information on how to access care through this new format.

🔹 East Tennessee State University and community partners are addressing the shortage of medical equipment by developing and manufacturing face shields. The face shield design uses materials donated by Eastman. Pieces of the shields are cut from a template using a laser engraver. All the face shield parts are collected and put into kits that will be assembled by Facilities Management staff at ETSU. Andrew Worley, emergency management specialist, will assist with shield assembly and ensure staff adhere to all COVID-19 work precautions, including social distancing. ETSU is working closely with STREAMWORKS, an educational program powered by the Eastman Foundation that is producing 3D printed face shields in its STEM Gym. Quick work and tweaks to their 3D printers have reduced printing time to two hours per headband.

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Hawkins schools’ youngest learners aren’t falling behind thanks to Pre-K homework

Chop House has gone 100% curbside, offers 20% discount

Trump, Congress agree on $2 trillion virus rescue bill

Once booming concert industry goes quiet

Tuesday, March 24

Schedule changes

🔹 In a joint letter to families and staff of Bristol, Kingsport and Sullivan County Schools, school leaders announced that the closure of all three systems has been extended through Friday, April 24. This includes all extra-curricular and athletic activities.

🔹 The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will remain temporarily closed to the public until at least April 22. BCM will continue to monitor the situation regarding the virus and will rely on the guidance from public health officials including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization concerning any decisions moving forward.

🔹 Kingsport City Schools has postponed the 2020-2021 Pre-K Screening and Kindergarten Registration, originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, until further notice due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). A new date for the events has yet to be determined.

🔹 Tennesse Gov. Bill Lee extended the statewide school closure to April 24, 2020. The Department of Education has secured a partnership with PBS to offer instructional content on television while students are at home. The filing deadline for franchise and excise taxes has been delayed until July 15, 2020. Taxpayers will have until July 15 to file returns and make any payments, including quarterly estimated payments, originally due in April. Additional information can be found here.

🔹 In light of heightened COVID-19 concerns, King University has announced all remaining classes for the spring 2020 semester will be completed via distance learning. As an added measure, King will delay its spring commencement ceremony, originally scheduled for May 2. “As we all work toward minimizing risk and maintaining a healthy community, we know it is in the best interest of everyone at King and in our region to keep our on-campus population as small as possible for now,” said Alexander Whitaker, president of the University. “Our hearts are certainly with our students and their families, especially our seniors, as we navigate these challenging days, and we will do everything we can to help ease this transition and celebrate our graduates’ well-earned degrees.” Although the commencement ceremony will be delayed, the conferring of degrees will take place as scheduled on May 15, 2020, for those who have completed requirements. An announcement will be made at a future date regarding the rescheduling of commencement.

🔹 Virginia High School League will delay decision to provide options on spring sports season until May. The VHSL held a conference call Tuesday morning with its VHSL Crisis Management team to discuss all options relating to spring sports and academic activities after the current academic year ends and into the summer. The VHSL Crisis Management team unanimously recommended to delay any final action until May.

🔹 Ben Franklin will change its store hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, effective March 30.

🔹 The 21st Annual Boone Lake Clean-Up has been postponed from its original April 25 date. “Due to circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, the Boone Lake Association Board has made the decision to postpone the clean-up until late summer or early autumn. While it is the hope of everyone that we will return to normal more quickly, it just doesn’t make sense to suggest next month, and then having to cancel and schedule for the next month, and so on. Rather, the association has made the decision to push the date back until the “coast is clear” and volunteers can get out and help to improve the quality of the water by removing trash and litter.” Event sponsors have been notified and support the decision. “The full time BLA Crew is in good health and working each day to keep the lake clean and safe. We will keep normal operations as long as it is prudent and reasonable with priority given to the health and safe working conditions of the crew,” the release said.

🔹 Operating under authority of Executive Order 16 signed Friday by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, BrightRidge will now conduct all Board of Director meetings electronically at least through the duration of the order. BrightRidge will conduct its meetings telephonically beginning Tuesday, March 24, at 4:15 p.m. As required under Executive Order 16, a full audio recording of the meeting will be posted at BrightRidge.com under the “Community” section along with a meeting agenda within 48 hours of the meeting.

🔹 Kingsport Area Transit Service (KATS) will stop all scheduled bus routes at the end of the day on Tuesday, March 24. Starting Wednesday, March 25, KATS will begin offering on demand-fixed route bus service where riders call the KATS dispatch office to request a bus. This service change is in response to emergency coronavirus measures being taken across the country. This method of bus operation encourages only essential travel and social distancing, allowing only a maximum of nine riders per bus. The “on-demand fixed route service” will operate as follows: 1) Riders will need to decide which bus stop is most convenient place for them to be picked up. 2) Riders can call (423) 224-2613 at least one hour before needing to be picked up. Give name, bus stop location, pick-up time and destination bus stop. 3) If confirmed, the rider will be given an estimated time when a KATS bus will arrive at the stop. 4) Riders can call (423) 224-2613 when ready to be picked back up at the bus stop. Bus fare will continue to be $1 each way for the general public, and $0.50 each way for disabled passengers, seniors and veterans. KATS Dial-A-Ride ADA paratransit services will continue to operate unchanged during this time.

🔹 Beginning Monday, March 23, the Tennessee Lottery temporarily closed the Nashville Headquarters claim center and the claim centers at the district offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis. All Tennessee Lottery Drawings and VIP Rewards Drawings, including Play It Again!, will continue as scheduled. Players can claim prizes less than $600 at any of our retailer locations. Prizes of $600 or more can be claimed by mailing in the signed winning ticket with a completed claim form to P.O. Box 290636, Nashville, TN 37229-0636. Reminder: All mail-in claims for drawing-style tickets must be postmarked within 180 days after the official winning draw date for that ticket and 90 days after the announced game end date for instant tickets. Aprende más aquí

🔹 The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame has announced that the 2020 Induction Ceremony, scheduled for June 13, 2020, in Knoxville, has been postponed and will be rescheduled for June 12, 2021. The Hall of Fame Class of 2020 — Debbie Brock (Veteran Player), Carol Callan (Contributor), Swin Cash (Player), Tamika Catchings (Player), Sue Donohoe (Contributor), Lauren Jackson (International Player) and Carol Stiff (Contributor) — will become the Class of 2021. The 2020 Trailblazers of the Game recipient, the 1980 US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team, will become the 2021 Trailblazers of the Game recipient. All tickets purchased by guests will be refunded in full automatically by TicketMaster and the Tennessee Theatre Box Office. For questions or inquiries, please email [email protected]

🔹 Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems (SVCHS) has made changes to optometry appointments in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). These changes were implemented on Monday, March 23, and will stay in place until further notice. These changes include: 1) Postpone all routine eyecare, including new patients to optometric services. 2) Urgent and acute care will be provided as deemed necessary by optometric staff. 3) Direct all patients who have questions or wish to schedule an appointment to the optometric assistant at (276) 496-4492 extension 1222. 4) The optometric staff will triage patients via phone to determine necessity of examinations. 5) Expiring contact lens and glasses prescriptions will be renewed on a case-by-case basis. 6) Optometry staff will make every effort to refer emergent cases to a specialist without requiring an office visit to SVCHS. For questions regarding these changes, please call (276) 496-4492.

News updates

🔹 Five Tusculum University students have tested positive for the coronavirus. “None of these students has been on the campus for several days. We are heartened the initial reports we have received indicate students are doing well. With the amount of time that has elapsed since students moved off campus, we continue to encourage our Pioneers to use healthy practices and social distancing to reduce their risk while they are off campus,” a release issued by the university said.

🔹 The Northeast Regional Health Office that serves Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties has confirmed additional cases of COVID-19 as of March 24. To date, there have been seven cases in Washington County and five in Greene County, with a total of 14 cases in the region. The Tennessee Department of Health will post COVID-19 updated numbers online by 3 p.m. each day at www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html.

🔹 The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $250 million in grants from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help communities provide meals for older adults. Tennessee received a grant for $4,868,765.

🔹 In an abundance of caution, in anticipation of potential community need, and due to the positive COVID-19 case reported in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, Ballad Health is moving aggressively to implement a regional COVID-19 surge plan for Wise County, Virginia – a move that can benefit and protect the entire region served by Ballad Health’s Wise County services. Lonesome Pine Hospital will be designated as the Wise County COVID-19 treatment and quarantine facility. This move will ensure acute care patients who can be treated in a community hospital will be served in a facility focused on their needs, while other patients with health care needs not related to COVID-19 will be treated at Norton Community Hospital. If any patients present with more serious needs than can be served locally, they will be treated at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Bristol Regional Medical Center in Bristol, or Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City. The emergency room at Lonesome Pine Hospital will remain open, however, all non-COVID-19, acute care, surgical and obstetric services currently provided by Lonesome Pine Hospital will immediately be moved to Norton Community Hospital in order to ensure proper focus on local resources. Patients needing surgery and labor/delivery services will receive their care at Norton Community Hospital.

🔹 The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA) is launching a series of virtual programs and badge workshops that kids of all ages can participate in to learn new activities and fill their time while confined at home and practicing social distancing. The program team will take over to share STEM, life skills, nature and outdoor-based activities girls can do in their own backyard, and some behind the scenes looks at Girl Scout camp properties: Camp Tanasi and Camp Adahi. Videos can be joined live or re-watched at facebook.com/GirlScoutCSA.

🔹 Ballad Health is welcoming handmade mask donations from community for respiratory patients. Because the masks are not medical grade, they will not be worn by team members as they provide care. Rather, they’ll serve as a vital barrier for patients who come in with respiratory ailments, and they’ll also help prevent patients from touching their faces. A sewing pattern and instructions are available at www.balladhealth.org/COVID19.

🔹 Atmos Energy employees and contractors will continue to maintain and operate critical natural gas infrastructure while the nation responds to the pandemic. Employees who work in the community are practicing physical distancing to slow the spread. Employees are also taking prevention measures recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and those who can are working from home. Screening protocols are in place to stop some types of work and safely limit when service technicians will be in your home or business. The corporation has also temporarily suspended natural gas disconnections for non-payment. Customers with any questions are encouraged to call 888-286-6700.

🔹 Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) is staying open to meet the legal needs that will be created or compounded by the coronavirus crisis. In order to keep everyone safe during these uncertain times, our attorneys, paralegals, and other professionals are working remotely and limiting in-person meetings to emergency situations; however, there are several ways to reach us and find out if you qualify for free legal help: 1) Call the closest office (see list at www.laet.org), and a paralegal or other trained professional will either answer the phone or call you back to gather additional information. 2) Complete the Online Intake Application located on our website, www.laet.org, and a paralegal will contact you. 3) Current clients can continue to call or email their individual attorneys as usual.

🔹 The Virginia Department of Health reported there are now 290 cases of COVID-19 across Virginia, including seven deaths. In the southwest region, there are still only two cases in Lee County.

🔹 The Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who is seeking help in coping with the mental or emotional effects caused by developments related to the coronavirus pandemic. The helpline is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, free resource that responds to people who need crisis counseling and support in dealing with the traumatic effects of a natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Helpline specialists are trained to assist callers who have a range of symptoms. The helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling centers in the nationwide network of centers. The helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. More information is available at disasterdistress.samhsa.gov.

🔹 los Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is partnering with The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to make $10 million in new assistance available to help licensed childcare agencies that were impacted by the recent COVID-19 emergency and the March 3 tornado disaster. Starting Tuesday, March 24, agencies will be able to apply for grant money to recoup some of their losses and expenses. Licensed childcare agencies are encouraged to learn about grant opportunities and to apply online by visiting www.childcaretennessee.com.

🔹 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $418,976 to seven community health centers located in Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District. The funding may be used for screening and testing, acquiring medical supplies and boosting telehealth capacity. Locally, Clinch River Health Services in Dungannon will receive $53,608.

🔹 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded $2,022,622 to 29 health centers in Tennessee stemming from the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. Health center recipients in Tennessee may use these awards to address screening and testing needs, acquire medical supplies and boost their telehealth capacity in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Local recipients include East Tennessee State University ($62,041) and the Rural Health Services Consortium in Rogersville ($89,989).

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Sullivan schools give out almost 4,000 meals Monday

Outbreak leaves road racing scene at standstill

Monday, March 23

Schedule changes

🔹 Based on daily changes in the status of the coronavirus pandemic and guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control, The Dollywood Company is delaying the opening of Dollywood and suspending the operations of Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, effective March 24. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins remains open at this time. “The coronavirus crisis is unprecedented, and based on the ever-changing developments, we are constantly re-evaluating our options and hoping to open in May,” Dollywood President Craig Ross said. “We are looking daily at all of our options to present an exciting and entertaining 2020 season that is a great experience for our guests, but our first priority is the safety of our hosts and guests. Dollywood will continue to watch the conditions within our region, consult with our medical experts and follow CDC guidelines to determine the re-opening date for the parks and resort. We will continue to communicate any additional changes as they occur.” For guests with resort reservations or tickets for this period of temporary closure, contact 1-800-DOLLYWOOD for rescheduling information.

🔹 Tusculum University has rescheduled spring commencement to August due to the coronavirus, in an effort to ensure graduating students still have an opportunity to formally celebrate their academic accomplishments, the university announced Monday afternoon. «The university was originally set to hold graduation Saturday, May 9, but to protect the health of students and their families, Tusculum has now scheduled the ceremony for Saturday, Aug. 8. Graduation will occur at 10:30 a.m. in Pioneer Arena and be held for spring and summer graduates. “Graduates will not have to wait until August to have their degrees conferred and their diplomas awarded,” said Dr. Tricia Hunsader, Tusculum’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. She said that will enable graduates to reference their degrees on their resumes and applications for advanced degree programs as soon as possible after the completion of the spring semester.

🔹 The 25th Annual Fiddlers & Fiddleheads Festival, the town of Unicoi’s longest-running festival, has now been canceled amid COVID-19 concerns. Mayor Johnny Lynch made the decision Monday morning after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s announcement Sunday regarding closures of bars, gyms and restaurant dining rooms across the state. “We were hoping it wouldn’t come to this since it was going to be a special year for the festival as it celebrated 25 amazing years,” Mayor Lynch said. “But our main concern is the safety and well-being of our residents and any potential visitors to the community. Given the uncertainty surrounding the ccronavirus and the recent spread into our region, I feel this cancellation is what’s truly best for our citizens.” The event is a joint effort between the Town of Unicoi and the Unicoi Business Alliance. Vendors that have already registered will be contacted and all fees will be refunded.

🔹 The 2020 Watauga Orthopaedics/Times News Relays have been canceled due to the constantly changing landscape of the novel coronavirus pandemic, meet officials said Monday. The meet was scheduled for April 30 and May 1 at Dobyns-Bennett High School and traditionally brings together the best competition between Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. “The cancellation of all Virginia public schools’ remaining academic year and coinciding spring sports season was a big tipping point. It doesn’t make sense to showcase an area all-star meet without all the stars being present,” meet director and Times News sports writer Tanner Cook said.

🔹 Beginning Tuesday, March 24, Kroger Mid-Atlantic stores will dedicate the first hour of operation on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to seniors and other at-risk customers. From 7-8 a.m., these customers can have first access to the store.

🔹 The Salvation Army of Greater Kingsport has canceled its monthly advisory board meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 24.

🔹 Ballad Heath Foundation has made the decision to amend its spring calendar. los Dickenson Community Hospital Radio Auction, scheduled for April 4-5 (benefiting Dickenson County Hospital Foundation), will be rescheduled to a later date. Wine, Women & Shoes, scheduled for April 18 (providing breast cancer screening programs), will be rescheduled at a later date. Broadway Comes to Greeneville, scheduled for April 26 (benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital), will be rescheduled at a later date. Boots & Bow Ties, scheduled for May 2 (benefiting Appalachian Highlands Dental Center), will be rescheduled in spring 2021. Ticket sales for these events have been suspended. If tickets were already purchased, the proceeds can be donated to the events’ intended causes. Refunds are also available by calling 423-302-3131 or emailing [email protected] “Ballad Health remains committed to our mission, and that means we must take all necessary precautions and adhere to social distancing efforts to flatten the curve and keep our community safe,” said Jack Simpson, president of Ballad Health Foundation. “We look forward to when these events are rescheduled, and we can all come together to benefit these meaningful causes.” Simpson also anticipates a greatly increased demand for the foundation’s patient assistance fund. If anyone would like to help Ballad Health Foundation meet those needs, please consider making a gift today at www.balladhealth.org/foundation.

🔹 The Greater Kingsport Republican Women meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 7, at Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant has been canceled. The group will meet again on May 4 at the same location. Lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m with the meeting at noon.

🔹 Effective March 24, Kingsport Press Credit Union will transition to closed lobbies and will utilize ATMs, drive thrus and home and mobile banking. A statement reads, “Employees will still be available, so call if you need additional assistance regarding account services, loans, etc. We’ll figure it out together as we go forward in these unusual times.”

🔹 In response to COVID-19 and in order to comply with social distancing recommendations from the CDC and Governor Bill Lee, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is suspending in-person service at all TWRA offices. Until further notice, offices will not be open for walk-in service. People can still call any office, email [email protected], or visit www.TNWildlife.org for information. Licenses and boat registration are available online 24/7/365 at www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com.

🔹 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective immediately, all Kingsport Police Department Defensive Driving Schools, to include DDC4 and Alive at 25, will be cancelled through the end of May 2020. Tentative plans are to resume classes in June 2020. Anyone with a case pending in Kingsport City Court that is dependent upon completion of Defensive Driving School for disposition will not be penalized by this unavoidable delay. Anyone who was scheduled to attend a K.P.D. Defensive Driving School between now and May 31, 2020, who has not already been contacted by the court is asked to promptly contact the K.P.D. Records Division at (423) 229-9427 to reschedule their class.

🔹 In response to guidance from state health officials and experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all camping, cabins, group recreation sites and restrooms in the Cherokee National Forest will be closed effective at noon March 23. The closure will remain in effect until at least May 15, at which time it will be reevaluated.

🔹 2Ton Tattoo and Empire Electric Tattoo announced Monday morning that it will close until at least April 6. A statement reads, “We want to protect our environment, artists, families, and most importantly, you (our clients). We want to thank each and everyone of you for your support and your understanding. We will begin getting in touch with our already scheduled appointments. The deposits that have already been placed will be honored. In this time of uncertainty, we hope that everyone stays safe. We will be back soon! This too shall pass.”

News updates

🔹 As of Monday afternoon, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 615 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the state, including two deaths. There are two confirmed cases in Sullivan County and six in Washington County.

🔹 Due to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declaring all schools in the Commonwealth closed for the remainder of year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, all VHSL spring sports and activities are canceled. The VHSL will hold a conference call Tuesday morning with its VHSL Management Crisis team to discuss all options relating to spring sports and academic activities following the current academic year and into the summer. The VHSL will announce a decision on Tuesday following the meeting. “We need to support our Governor and State Superintendent. These actions were taken to protect Virginians, keep them safe and healthy and to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “Our Crisis Management team is made up excellent school representatives and has been vital in all deliberations regarding COVID-19. In every situation, every decision we make has been, and will be, in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and families.”

🔹 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee established the COVID-19 Unified Command, a joint effort to be led by Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, to streamline coordination across the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Department of Military. More information regarding COVID-19 response is available at www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html.

🔹 Tusculum University learned Monday that a third student has tested positive for the coronavirus. The student had traveled out of state during spring break with the first two students who tested positive. “We are following the same process with this third student as the others, providing to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office the names of everyone who has had contact with this person. None of these students has been on the Tusculum campus for several days. Tusculum is praying for these students and their families,” a release from the university states.

🔹 The American Electric Power Foundation is donating $288,000 to agencies providing COVID-19 relief efforts across Appalachian Power’s three-state service area. The gift is part of an overall $1.5 million coronavirus relief donation from the AEP Foundation. United Way chapters, many of which have established Community Response Funds related to the virus, will receive $204,000. Food banks and feeding centers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, as well as the American Red Cross, will receive $84,000 in funding. Local organizations receiving special COVID-19 funding include United Way of Greater Kingsport and United Way of Southwest Virginia. The AEP Foundation is funded by AEP and its utilities, including Appalachian Power.

🔹 Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is teaming up with academic, governmental and and corporate partners in an unprecedented, fast-tracked global effort to develop antibody-based treatments to protect people exposed to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Researchers from the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center (VVC) have rapidly responded to this outbreak by building a comprehensive “toolkit” to identify and analyze antibodies isolated from the blood of survivors for their ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Thousands of antibodies that already have been identified by the VVC are now being analyzed for their ability to inhibit the virus and, more importantly, to prevent it from causing illness. The goal is to develop and manufacture the most promising lead antibodies in preparation for initiating clinical trials to test their efficacy in humans.

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Watauga Orthopaedics/Times News Relays canceled for 2020

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VHSL Crisis Management Team to meet

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Scott County declares emergency, announces office closures due to COVID-19

Sullivan, Bristol free meals for those 18 and younger launched Monday

Northam: Virginia schools closed for rest of spring semester

Mountain Home outpatient tests positive for COVID-19

Kingsport City Hall, public-facing departments to close

Sunday, March 22

Schedule changes

🔹 los Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is taking immediate steps to ensure access to critical services and benefits for customers while protecting the health of employees and the public in response to COVID-19. After a careful analysis of foot traffic and the health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health, the TDHS has decided to move to appointment only for in person services beginning Monday, March 23, 2020. Local offices will have employees available to respond to questions or applications via telephone. Customers can find the number to their local office by going online here.

🔹 Beginning Monday, March 23, the Kingsport Times News offices at 701 Lynn Garden Drive will be closed to the public until further notice.

News updates

🔹 Public health districts across Virginia have activated public health call centers, to answer questions and provide information about COVID-19 and related issues, including symptoms, how to minimize the risk of exposure for yourself and your loved ones, local and statewide conditions, testing resources and how they are used, and what to do if you think you may be ill. You may call any of the centers, but it may be most helpful to contact the center nearest you. Visit vdh.virginia.gov/lenowisco to learn more.

🔹 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Sunday limiting restaurants to takeout, drive-thru and delivery services only and closing all bars and gyms across the state. Executive Order 17 also prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more people and restricts visits to nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care or assisted-living facilities to “essential care only.”

🔹 A second student at Tusculum University has tested positive for coronavirus, the university announced Sunday afternoon.

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Meals on Wheels makes delivery changes because of pandemic

Lee order to limit restaurant service, close bars and gyms

Sullivan schools give online, at-home learning options

Daily Devotional: In an upside-down world, turn to the living God who hears your cry

Times News offices to close to the public

Saturday, March 21

Schedule changes

🔹 The Upper East Tennessee Senior Golf League has canceled all tournaments until May 11 due to the recommendations of the CDC to not have events that exceed 50 people. Hopefully our league will start up on May 11 at Link Hills Country Club in Greeneville, Tennessee.

🔹 The Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings for March 23 and March 24 will be held at the Civic Auditorium, located at 1550 Fort Henry Drive. While Kingsport is still holding these meetings, all attendees will have to adhere to the current CDC guidelines for COVID-19, including avoiding close contact and covering coughs and sneezes. The audio for this meeting is scheduled to be posted to the city website before noon on Wednesday, March 25.

News updates

🔹 Eastman Chemical Company issued the following release: “Due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in and around our region along with increases in some popular spring travel destinations, Eastman is instructing all of its Kingsport employees to avoid personal travel until the end of April. We are also encouraging members of the community to take the same precautions. “Right now, we have a limited number of cases in the Tri-Cities region and none of these cases involve Eastman employees, but they are all related to travel outside our area. This is a shared responsibility among all of us in our community and we are asking everyone to pull together as a region, even if that means personal sacrifices, in order to avoid further spread of this virus here at home. We must do this for the sake of all employees, families and community members — particularly those at higher risk of complications — and to avoid disruptions for our local businesses which will be critical for our regional economy.”

🔹 The Kroger Family of Companies (NYSE: KR) announced Saturday it will provide a one-time bonus to every hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associate, amounting to $300 for every full-time associate and $150 for every part-time associate. The special bonus will be paid to frontline associates who were hired on or before March 1, covers the payroll period March 8 – 28, and will be payable on April 3. The company today also expanded its COVID-19 emergency leave guidelines to include paid time off for self-isolation and symptoms as verified by an accredited health care professional. This expands the new guidelines, announced on March 14, which allows paid time off for associates diagnosed with or placed under quarantine due to COVID-19. In each scenario, all associates will be eligible to receive their standard pay for up to two weeks (14 days).

🔹 United Methodist congregations, though they may not be having in-person worship services this week, are uniting in their response to the recent devastating health crises, weather events and disasters by donating to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) on Sunday, March 22. Known as UMCOR Sunday, the special offering received in churches of The United Methodist Church helps the agency cover administrative expenses so that donations received at other times of the year can be directed to disaster response efforts. In recognition of the impact the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is having on worship services UMCOR is accepting donations online.

🔹 Bristol Motor Speedway is teaming up with Marsh Regional Blood Center on Monday, March 23, to host a blood drive to assist with the shortage of blood in the Appalachian Highlands region. With a nationwide shortage of blood supply growing, the blood drive provides local residents the opportunity to donate in a time of need. The event will begin Monday at 10 a.m. and run through 4 p.m. at the Marsh Regional mobile unit inside the North Entrance of Bristol Motor Speedway off Hwy 11 E / Volunteer Pkwy.

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Seniors League suspends play through May 11

Lee order to limit restaurant service, close bars and gyms

Lenowisco Health District confirms two cases of COVID-19 in Lee County

Mount Carmel closes library and senior center; city, county meetings canceled

Feds, Virginia announce coronavirus fraud task force

Sullivan County releasing, furloughing inmates

Tennessee reports first COVID-19 death

Friday, March 20

Schedule changes

🔹 Due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and the extraordinary circumstances it is causing across the state and nation, Tennessee Extension offices are temporarily closed to public access to help protect the health and safety of the employees and the communities they serve. In a letter to employees on March 19, UT Extension Dean Robert Burns and Tennessee State University Associate Dean of Extension Latif Lighari announced that Extension county offices statewide will close to public access beginning March 20. Additional facilities including regional offices, 4-H Centers, Lone Oaks Farm, the Center for Profitable Agriculture, and the Soil Plant and Pest Center will also be closed to public access.

🔹 Bristol, Tennessee municipal buildings will close to the public at 5 p.m. Friday, March 20, and remain closed until further notice. City Manager Bill Sorah announced the decision Friday afternoon as the city continues to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the region. The Slater Community Center and Steele Creek Nature Center closed earlier this week, and now public access to all other city buildings will be restricted. Community members still will have access to the lobby of the Bristol, Tennessee Police Department, however, and may use a phone available there to request an officer. Additionally, city transit buses will continue to operate on a regular schedule, with fees suspended to ensure transportation to vital community resources remains available. Transit buses will be restricted to 10 passengers at a time. While city buildings are closed, residents may use a variety of bill-paying options and electronic forms to conduct business. Residents are reminded that all city parks remain open, and gate fees at Steele Creek Park are currently waived.

🔹 In response to COVID-19 and in order to comply with social distancing recommendations from the CDC and Governor Lee, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is shortening in-person service at all TWRA offices. Until further notice, office hours will be 8-11 a.m. Monday through Friday. People can still call any office, email [email protected], or visit www.TNWildlife.org for information. Licenses and boat registration are available online 24/7/365 at www.GoOutdoorsTennessee.com, and fishing is a great family-friendly activity that follows recommended social distancing guidelines. Spring turkey season will open April 4 for hunters statewide.

🔹 Salvation Army is continuing its noon meal, but it is now a “grab and go” sack lunch. The dining room will be closed for lunch until further notice. The shelter remains open. However, space may be limited due to the need to distance beds 6-10 feet apart. Salvation Army is still providing social services from its office between 9-4, regular business hours, Monday-Thursday. The process has been streamlined so there is less contact between clients and employees.

🔹 The income tax filing date has been pushed back from April 15, to July 15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. Mnuchin announced the decision in a tweet Friday saying that at President Donald Trump’s direction “we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

News updates

🔹 In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would like to explain the reasons for delays customers and firearms dealers may have experienced this week while securing a firearms background check or appeal in the state, and the steps being taken to alleviate the situation. On Thursday, the Tennessee Instant Check System (TICS) experienced an uncharacteristic delay in processing transactions as a result of three things: a sharp increase in background check requests in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, limited staff access to TBI facilities as a result of an employee’s positive diagnosis, and an approximately one-hour, unplanned outage in the technical connection needed to process the background checks. The increase in background check requests in Tennessee aligns with national trends during the pandemic. TBI processed 14,657 transactions between Thursday, March 12, and Monday, March 16. During the comparable five-day period, February 13, through February 17, TBI processed 7,901 transactions.

🔹 The Northeast Regional Health Office has confirmed three additional cases of COVID-19 as of March 19: two in Washington County and one in Greene County. The Northeast Region Health Officials are working with state and local officials to support the ongoing investigations of COVID-19 cases. The overall risk to the public remains low as COVID-19 is not currently widespread in Tennessee or the United States. As of 3 p.m., there are 228 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the state of Tennessee.

🔹 The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting on Tuesday, March 24 at 7 p.m. will remain open to the public. The town has been closely monitoring news regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and is keeping the safety of residents as a top priority. In the interest of everyone’s well-being, it is encouraged to take advantage of the live stream video that will be available on Jonesboroughtn.org on Tuesday, March 24, at 7 p.m. It is requested for those in attendance to practice social distancing by sitting 6 feet away from one another as well as sanitizing before entering and after exiting the board room. There will be sanitizer stations at the door.

🔹 As of Friday afternoon, Virginia has 114 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to a statement from Senator Todd Pillion. Tests continue to be conducted in Southwest Virginia.

🔹 los Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) has seen a large increase in the number of unemployment claims. This increase, along with public health concerns, has prompted a change in strategy for the agency. To meet the current demand for unemployment benefits and address public health concerns, the department will limit access to American Job Centers and shift resources to triple the number of staff trained to process claim applications. Starting Monday, March 23, each American Job Center across Tennessee will begin limiting access to facilities and conduct business through phone and internet. This change will allow state-employed staff to switch their focus from workforce development tasks to claims processing. Nearly 200 employees work inside Tennessee’s 23 comprehensive American Job Centers. This shift in job duties will bring the total number of staff focusing on unemployment to approximately 300, which is roughly one-third of the department’s employees.

🔹 Make-A-Wish East Tennessee faces a record number of wishes waiting to be granted as a result of the recent need to postpone all wishes that involve travel due to the public and medical concerns of COVID-19. As nearly 80 percent of wishes involve travel, 970 wishes nationwide and eleven wishes through Make-A-Wish East Tennessee were immediately impacted with additional wishes impacted every day. The challenging circumstances have inspired Make-A-Wish to think creatively about how to bring hope and joy to Make-A-Wish kids during unpredictable and scary times. On Friday, Make-A-Wish announced “Messages of Hope” to give supporters and the general public alike a fun, easy way to help children with critical illnesses without needing to leave the house. Through “Messages of Hope,” Make-A-Wish invites the public to spread hope and anticipation by writing, recording, or photographing themselves delivering messages of encouragement for wish kids waiting for wishes impacted by COVID-19. Before sharing their messages, participants should consider a donation at etn.wish.org to prepare Make-A-Wish to grant the unprecedented number of pending wishes once normal operations resume. The last step is to post the messages to any social media channel including a tag to Make-A-Wish East Tennessee, and the hashtag, #WishesAreWaiting. Two or more friends should also be tagged and challenged because the more messages shared, the greater the impact on wish kids and their families.

🔹 In response to the increased threat of fraud presented by the coronavirus, federal and Virginia state law enforcement leaders announced the formation of the Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force. The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force is a joint federal and state partnership that will be led by Assistant United States Attorneys from both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, in partnership with experienced fraud investigators from the FBI and the Virginia State Police. The mission of the task force is to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Virginia. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Baudinet will serve as the COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator for the Western District of Virginia. If you believe you have been victim of fraud, or need more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/covid-19-fraud.

🔹 Tusculum University was notified Friday morning, March 20, that one of its students tested positive for the coronavirus. A statement from the university reads, “We immediately set in motion a plan instructing all nonessential personnel to begin working remotely. We are also telling all of our students who are on campus that we are closing the residence halls. We are notifying the health department of all campus members who have been in contact with the infected student so those individuals can be contacted by a health department official regarding next steps. Tusculum University is committed to the well-being of all students, faculty and staff and will continue to be a resource for anyone who needs assistance. The university and classes will continue to function, and we will remain on track to finish the remainder of the spring semester. Our prayers go to the student who tested positive, as well as anyone else who might have had contact with that person.”

🔹 In response to the growing network for school-provided meals, in addition to services provided by Second Harvest and local businesses, the First Tennessee Development District has developed a web-based app with locations and details on feeding sites across Northeast Tennessee. This map details the locations and times for food services provided by area school systems for students, Monday through Friday each week across Northeast Tennessee during the closures prompted by COVID-19. The map also provides information on Disaster Pantries facilitated by Second Harvest Food Bank, in addition to businesses who have committed to provide food during this public health crisis. Each symbol indicates a location, which when clicked, provides information on meal times, contact information where possible, and a link to the service provider. This map is designed to be widely shared to help inform residents across the region of the services available to them at this time. The FTDD is committed to working with local school systems, regional partners, and businesses to keep this map updated and current. For information specific to food services, please contact your respective School System. Any inquires about the content of this map or to alter or add information should be directed to [email protected] The map can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/netnschoolclosurefeedingsites.

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PETWORKS making temporary changes at shelter

What do you think about the COVID-19 outbreak?

Regional banks, credit unions changing operations due to COVID-19

Hawkins clerk limits three customers to offices, plans drive-thru

Gov. Northam adds more measures to Virginia emergency declaration

UPDATE: State Health Department reports two cases of COVID-19 in Washington County

Trump moves on invoking powers to spur virus supplies

BrightRidge to end walk-in service due to COVID-19

Hawkins schools, Rogersville City now closed until April 20

The Latest: Standard testing won’t be enforced in schools

First Washington County resident tests positive for COVID-19

School meals on wheels: Kingsport buses deliver free breakfast, lunch

Superintendent: Uncertainty in Wise County Schools spring semester continues

Thursday, March 19

Schedule changes

🔹 Barter Theatre is now targeting the end of May for the start of its 2020 season. After a 2019 budget shortfall, Barter launched an urgent fundraising campaign, and underwent significant organizational changes that resulted in a strong financial start to Barter’s 2020 season. The unforeseeable catastrophe of the coronavirus pandemic has put a sudden halt on Barter’s positive trajectory. Barter’s aggressive measures to reduce costs include furloughing 87 staff members and moving the remainder to reduced wages. Barter is also working to find alternative sources of revenue, but these actions alone will not be enough to sustain the company through this difficult time. To ensure that Barter is able to reopen for the 2020 season, it has created a COVID-19 Relief Fund, and is asking patrons to consider purchasing Barter gift cards or tickets for shows later in the year. In addition to the history and culture that Barter contributes, a 2013 economic impact study reported that Barter directly and indirectly generates $34 million annually in local business and tax revenue. To learn more about Barter’s plan for the coming weeks and to read a statement from Producing Artistic Director, Katy Brown, visit bartertheatre.com.

🔹 In a joint statement to citizens of Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport and all of Sullivan and Washington counties, regional leaders announced that events and programs in the localities will be suspended, and recreation centers and other facilities that draw crowds will be closed. Other services, such as public transit, will operate as regularly as possible based upon the guidance from public health officials. All non-essential meetings have also been canceled, and face-to-face contact is being limited. Citizens are strongly encouraged to conduct business with their city or county online or via phone. Each city is maintaining a webpage with up-to-date schedule changes and information. Please check them often: https://www.bristoltn.org/covid19; https://www.johnsoncitytn.org/covid-19; https://www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response

🔹 los Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m. has been cancelled.

🔹 Starting on March 23, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park will be temporarily closed to the público. The business decision was made in the interest of protecting employees and guests by limiting possible exposure to COVID-19. Ober Gatlinburg will continue to closely monitor CDC recommendations and will notify the public when they are able to reopen. For guests who wish to reschedule their visit, the company will honor unused pre-purchased tickets for one year from the date of purchase. For questions regarding ticket sales and general information, please email [email protected] or call 865-436-5423. “We sincerely care about our employees and our guests and feel that this precautionary step is in everyone’s best interest,” Ober Gatlinburg President Bruce Anders said. “The health and safety of our employees andguests is our top priority.”

🔹 Some retailers are temporarily closing their stores while others remain open at The Pinnacle during the current COVID-19 crisis. “Currently, all our restaurants remain open, some with drive-through or curbside pick-up only available,” explains Pinnacle Developer Steve Johnson. “Bass Pro Shop, Best Buy and CarMax remain open at this time while other retailers have temporarily closed. Our hearts go out to employees who are temporarily impacted by the closings.” Retailers that have temporarily closed their stores are Alumni Hall, American Eagle, Bath & Body Works, Belk, Carters, Dick’s Sporting Goods, ELife Nails, Francesca’s, GAP, Just Jump, Justice, Kay’s, Kirkland’s, Hallmark, Lane Bryant, Loft Outlet, Maurice’s, Old Navy, Osh-Kosh, Party City, Surf & Dirt, The Pinnacle 12, Torrid, Ulta and Yankee Candle. “I recommend that consumers monitor each retailer’s website for the most updated information on their store hours, temporary closings and projected re-openings when the crisis ends. Everything is fluid in their decisions as to when their actual re-openings will occur,” Johnson said. “I urge that everyone remain safe and healthy during this time.”

🔹 Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has directed the Virginia Department of State Police to suspend the enforcement of Motor Vehicle Safety Inspections for 60 days. For a comprehensive list of actions Northam has announced to combat COVID-19 in Virginia, visit virginia.gov/coronavirus.

🔹 The VHSL Foundation has postponed the VHSL Foundation Golf Tournament scheduled for Tuesday, May 12. The tournament, presented by VACORP, has been rescheduled for Monday, October 5. at the Spring Creek Golf Club in Zion Crossroads, east of Charlottesville. Teams who registered prior to the postponement, have a secured spot for October 5. Teams who are not able to accommodate the change in date, may contact Hannah Catherine Munro ([email protected]) for additional details. Online registration is open and teams may be reserved at: https://gofan.co/app/school/VHSL/Golf

🔹 In keeping with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the First Tennessee Development District is reducing on-site operations to limit exposure and slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in the region. Through March 27, the FTDD offices, located at 3211 N. Roan St. in Johnson City, will remain closed to all except essential personnel. Due to the nature of the district’s work, the intent is to maintain vital operational programs and public health services such CHOICES, CREVAA, Information & Assistance, Options Counseling and Meals for Seniors. Contingencies have also been prepared to enable staff to work remotely, ensuring the district is able to meet the needs of the eight counties and twenty municipalities across Northeast Tennessee.

🔹 In accordance with the CDC guidelines and at the most recent recommendation of NASCAR, Kingsport Speedway is postponing all events through May 3 due to coronavirus concerns. A statement released Thursday afternoon said, “The safety and health of our fans, race teams, staff and other stakeholders remains our highest priority. We plan to have a full season of racing and will provide a revised 2020 schedule and additional updates in a timely manner as they are available. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and our continued prayers go out to everyone during these difficult times.”

🔹 Effective immediately, the Jonesborough office of the Heritage Alliance is closed to the public from March 19 through April 20. Staff will still be available by phone and by email. In the coming weeks, the Heritage Alliance will be increasing its online content with digital exhibits and more YouTube videos on the Chester Inn’s YouTube page. During this time, the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum will also be closed with plans to reopen on April 18. Town Tours will also be suspended until April 18. The Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum and Archives will be closed to the public until further notice. The Architectural Salvage Warehouse will reopen for the season on April 18 and be open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The History Happy Hours scheduled for March 26 and April 16 have been cancelled.

🔹 Lighthouse Productions has canceled its fourth annual “Honor Our First Responders Concert” featuring Karen Peck & New River and The Guardians. The concert was originally scheduled for April 4 at Ross N. Robinson Middle School.

News updates

🔹 Mountain Empire Older Citizens Transit, with support of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Federal Transit Administration, will offer transportation free for the general public beginning March 23 through April 30. MEOC Transit serves Lee, Scott and Wise counties and Norton. Normal fares range from 75 cents to $1.50 per boarding. MEOC Transit, which operates a demand-response service, is maintaining its normal operating schedule for now and has increased frequency of its bus sanitization routines during the pandemic. Service is offered Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. As always, MEOC Transit services are for all ages. To schedule a ride, call (276) 523-7433 at least 24 hours in advance. MEOC remains committed to providing service for essential trips in the community, including to medical providers, pharmacies and grocery stores, said MEOC Executive Director Michael Wampler. “We hope that, in some small way, waiving fares will help reduce the burden of those struggling the most.”

🔹 As of 3 p.m. Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Health reports the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee is 154. That includes 75 in Davidson County, 30 in Williamson County, 4 in Shelby County and 2 in Knox County. There is one confirmed case in Sullivan County.

🔹 The United Way of Washington County TN has established a Washington County Community COVID-19 Response Fund, which will provide local support to local nonprofits. One hundred percent of the donations to this fund will go directly to vetted nonprofit programs helping citizens in Washington County who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. For more details about the fund and to donate, visit https://uwowc.org/covid-19/.

🔹 William Wall, executive director of the Tennessee Corrections Institute, said Thursday morning that no cases of COVID-19 have been reported within a local correctional facility statewide. The local correctional facilities have been supplied with examples of screening tools, suggestions, prevention methods and presentations regarding the coronavirus. Local facility administrations have been extremely diligent in implementing protocols which best serve their community, inmates and employees to prevent or suppress the spread of the virus. “I hope this will provide a level of solace to the public who are worried about their loved ones that are incarcerated or working within one of the local correctional facilities,” Wall said in a statement. “TCI will continue to provide service, resources, and the ever-changing information to the local facilities as we receive it, please visit the TCI website for information at www.tn.gov/tci.”

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Washing your hands can protect you and your community from coronavirus

Sullivan County governmental offices announce COVID-19 precautions

Goodwill Tenneva adjusts hours, implements additional efforts in response to pandemic

Tennessee Aquarium offers virtual visits to ease boredom of social distancing

Information sharing platform created to help local businesses

Five hand-washing stations now available in downtown Kingsport

We deliver: Norton schools handling feeding challenge

Church Hill, Rogersville senior centers shut down, but Mount Carmel’s stays open

Kingsport schools release at-home study plans, add bus meal routes

COVID-19 forces more changes to Virginia colleges, businesses

Kingsport Chamber launches campaign to help small businesses survive crisis

Creation Kingdom Zoo launches educational video series, keeps outdoor exhibits open

Wednesday, March 18

Schedule changes

🔹 Due to the escalating concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board’s Executive Committee has made the decision to cancel the HCIDB meeting set for Thursday, March 26. “Safety is of the utmost importance, and with the way things are so rapidly developing, we feel limiting potential exposure is the safest course of action. I sincerely hope everyone stays safe and healthy through these trying times we are facing as a community and world,” the meeting announcement said.

🔹 PETWORKS Animal Shelter announced adjusted hours for the shelter at 2141 Idle Hour Road in Kingsport. It will remain open all days except Sunday and Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. Appointments are requested for pet adoptions, fosters and drop-offs. In order to preserve space for incoming animals and lost pets, we temporarily will not be accepting surrendered pets unless the owner has passed away or is in an emergency situation. Call 423-247-1671 or visit petworkstn.com to learn more or to make a donation.

🔹 The Music on the Square Anniversary Gala and Masterpiece Mingle in Jonesborough have been postponed. The StoryTown Radio Show for March, Easter Eggstravaganza, and the Donald Davis storytelling concerts have been canceled.

🔹 The Rogersville Men’s Prayer Breakfast will be postponed until further notice, according to a statement from Dr. Blaine Jones. “We know God is in control, first and foremost. We know He wants us to inundate Him with our prayers for healing of our nation — from viruses, politics, hatred and other issues as well. He also wants us to be understanding and take precautions in our daily lives. That being said and to err on the side of caution, the Rogersville Men’s Prayer Breakfast will be postponed until further notice. Please, observe ‘social distancing,’ avoid large crowds/groups, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face and, most of all, continue your prayers to Our God and Heavenly Father for healing of our nation and our world.”

🔹 Jonesborough Little League has suspended games into April.

🔹 Mountain Empire Older Citizens has postponed its annual Walkathon for the first time in its history. The event is the largest fundraiser for the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. MEOC hopes to hold the fundraiser later in the year. MEOC also also postponed its Harold Lester Memorial Golf Tournament, and has temporarily closed eight senior nutrition sites in Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Pound, Norton, Hiltons, Nickelsville, Jonesville and Pennington Gap. Site participants will receive nutrition services through the home-delivered meals program, plus socialization via phone and internet. Mountain Empire Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) has enacted outside visitor restrictions and is prioritizing urgent care needs of its participants.

🔹 The Town of Jonesborough announced the closure of the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center, the McKinney Center and the Jonesborough Senior Center, effective Wednesday, March 18, until at least April 17. If you have questions regarding tickets or visitor information, call the Visitor Center at 423-753-1010 or McKinney Center at 423-753-0562. The Meals on Wheels program will continue with drivers increasing cleaning and sanitation efforts. Members in need of meals to be delivered are asked to contact the Jonesborough Senior Center at 423-753-4781. The MyRide program will continue rides to the grocery store, doctor, pharmacy, etc. To set this up, call Susan Katko at 423-788-4770.

🔹 The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre has canceled the remaining performances of “Shrek.” Ticket holders have three options: a donation, a voucher or a reimbursement. “Because of the theatre’s loss of revenue, please consider permitting the ticket payment to be a much-needed donation. However, ticket holders may request a gift certificate (voucher) for one of the season’s remaining shows, or a reimbursement.” For a voucher, contact [email protected] or call 423-782-8733. For reimbursements or for season pass-holder credit, call 423-753-1010.

🔹 The Town of Jonesborough Anunciado the Recorders Office and Administrative Area of Town Hall has temporarily closed to the general public as of Wednesday, March 18, and is looking to reopen April 17. The general public can still access the public safety dispatcher area. Until April 17, residents can pay their water bill, tax payments, police fines and other payments online, by phone or through the mail. A drop box in the door opening to Town Hall, located at the covered connection with the Post Office, is accessible to the public for payment drop-off as well as a drive-by box at the end of the Post Office parking lot. To pay over the phone, call 423-753-1040.

🔹 Northeast State Community College announced the cancellation of a number of events, including transfer advising visits from Bethel (March 19), UT Chattanooga (March 19), LMU (March 23), Tusculum (March 26) and Austin Peay (March 31) at the Blountville campus and ETSU (March 19) at the Elizabethton campus. Other canceled events are: Women’s History month speaker Paula Casey, March 19; USDA site visit and TEC tour, March 23; Holston Stamp Club meeting, March 19; Moms Demand Action meeting, March 28; debate tournament, March 28; Tri-Cities Rotary Club, every Monday through March; Civil Air Patrol, every Monday through March; Civil Air Patrol/Cyber Patriot Training, every Saturday through April 4; TECTA from ETSU, April 1; Tennessee Math Teachers Association math contest, April 7; and spring career fair, April 8. During the campus closure, the bookstore on the Blountville campus will be closed. The bookstore website will remain open and accessible for students. Also postponed are Arduino Day, March 31; Scholars Attic Rummage Sale, April 2-3; and “Echoes and Images” art exhibition and reading, April

🔹 At the recommendation of the CDC and the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, the City of Kingsport will close the Kingsport Public Library and all other community centers, effective at 5 p.m., Thursday, until further notice. Additionally, all rentals of city facilities are suspended until at least April 3. This decision comes from City Manager Chris McCartt. The closures include Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium (the park itself will remain open), Kingsport Aquatic Center, Kingsport Carousel, Kingsport Farmers Market, Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, Kingsport Public Library, Kingsport Senior Center, Renaissance Center and Kingsport Parks and Recreation’s Lynn View Community Center, VO Dobbins Sr. Complex, Brickyard Park and Domtar Park. All of Kingsport’s parks and on-site bathrooms remain open at this time, but all programming including athletics are suspended. At this time, all other city offices remain open. If you have rented a city facility between now and April 3, please contact the facility. As of March 17, the CDC recommends that for the next 15 days, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events of 10 or more people; and for the next eight weeks, cancel events of 50 or more people. If anyone who has already booked a rental has questions or wishes to cancel, please reach out to the facility directly.

🔹 The Kingsport Area Transit Service (KATS) will begin limiting the number of passengers in transit vehicles to no more than 10 at one time. To ensure riders continue to get to essential destinations, passengers can assist by following guidelines to avoid discretionary travel and practicing social distancing. In an effort to provide additional vehicle sanitation, KATS will stop fixed-route service for one hour from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Buses will not run during this hour so that the vehicles can receive disinfectant treatments. To learn more, visit kingsporttransit.org.

🔹 All services at Bloomingdale Baptist Church will be canceled through at least April 4, the church announced on its Facebook page. The office will be open during normal business hours. Concerning services, we will be live streaming Sunday morning services as well as recording videos of Bible lessons throughout this time to post on our website, Facebook, and YouTube and will try compile these weekly messages on DVD for those without Internet access.

🔹 The Republicans of Kingsport has canceled its regular meeting scheduled to take place April 6 at Food City on Eastman Road due to the coronavirus pandemic.

🔹 The City of Kingsport Senior Center y Renaissance Center closed at noon, Wednesday, and will remain closed until further notice.

🔹 The Kingsport Carousel is closed until further notice.

🔹 Due to COVID-19 and in cooperation with CDC guidelines, First Presbyterian Church is postponing all of its April concerts. The church will notify the community when these events are rescheduled.

🔹 Based on recommendations from President Donald Trump, Gov. Ralph Northam and the nation’s health protection agency that all mass gatherings be canceled during the coronavirus pandemic, the Carter Family Fold will be closed until May 2. Should further closures be necessary, announcements will be made on the Fold’s website and Facebook page prior to those events. “We hope that circumstances change and we can re-start our Saturday shows before that time. We regret that cancelling shows is necessary, but we want to do all we can to keep everyone safe.”

🔹 The 2020 UVA Wise volleyball alumni game, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 28, inside the David J. Prior Convocation Center has been canceled due to the latest developments regarding COVID-19.

🔹 The TSSAA Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony, originally scheduled for April 18, has been postponed. In a release, the TSSAA said “it is our hope that we will be able to have this event some time this fall… and will make an announcement when a new date is finalized.”

🔹 The 2020 Virginia High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, April 26, has been postponed until Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Charlottesville. Fourteen athletes, coaches and contributors make up the Class of 2020. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased on-line: https://gofan.co/app/VHS.

🔹 The Tusculum University Cheer and Dance Tryouts, scheduled for April 26, have been canceled.

🔹 Tusculum College’s Make-A-Wish 5k Run/Walk has been canceled. If you still wish to donate to the Tusculum Athletics Make-A-Wish fundraising efforts, contact Jenna Restivo at [email protected]

🔹 The East Tennessee Historical Association announced Wednesday that the Museum of East Tennessee History, located in the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville, will be closed March 19-April 3. “We will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate as needed going forward.” All ETHS public programming — Brown Bags, lectures, genealogy classes, teacher workshops, and student museum tours —have been postponed for dates to be determined when it is deemed to be safe for public gatherings. The ETHS Annual Meeting and Awards, scheduled for May 5, has been postponed and will be rescheduled for later in the summer.

News updates

🔹 As of 2 p.m., Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reports the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee is 98. That includes 58 in Davidson County, 24 in Williamson County, 4 in Shelby County and 2 each in Knox and Sumner counties. There is one confirmed case in Sullivan County. Seven other counties also have one confirmed case.

🔹 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts around COVID-19 relief. Among the highlights, it says 15,000 state employees are currently working from home through the state’s Alternative Workplace Solutions (AWS) program with plans in place to place another 8,400 employees on AWS. It also says Lee spoke with the Grocers Association Wednesday and confirmed the strength of the supply chain, and that Tennesseans should grocery shop as they normally would and avoid stockpiling and hoarding.

🔹 Marsh Regional Blood Center has issued an urgent call for donations. As schools and local organizations close for several weeks, thereby canceling planned blood drives, Marsh Regional Blood Center faces the possibility it will be unable to meet the needs of patients in this region, a release reads. “We need people to turn out in force and donate,” said Don Campbell, director of Marsh Regional. “Nationally, blood drives are being canceled, and hospitals and health systems are in urgent need for donations. This could turn into an unprecedented blood shortage, unless our donors come out and give as soon as they can. If you’re healthy, feel well and haven’t been exposed to COVID-19, we need you to donate now.”

🔹 Earlier today, Ballad Health sent out a press release detailing how COVID-19 is affecting blood supply. Marsh Regional Blood Center is issuing an urgent call for donations. More information on this and other COVID-19 updates and information are available on www.balladhealth.org/covid19. Total positive COVID-19 cases in Ballad Health facilities: 0

🔹 Northeast State Community College will transition all face-to-face classes to to online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester. Students should check D2L for information about course assignments and check their Northeast State email and the college’s website for further updates.

🔹 Make-A-Wish East Tennessee announced Make-A-Wish America “has made the difficult decision to postpone all wish travel, as well as wish kid participation in all activities and events related to Make-A-Wish that involve large gatherings, until further notice” in the wake of COVID-19 uncertainty. On average, 77 percent of wishes involve air travel. Make-A-Wish East Tennessee has postponed 11 wishes across its 36-county territory. Nationwide, 970 wishes were immediately impacted with 30 more wishes estimated to be postponed each day.”

Lee mas

Northeast State to remain online for remainder of spring semester

Sullivan officials taking steps to prevent COVID-19 at county jail

Rogersville ministry keeps open thrift store, food pantry, services

Hawkins students getting homework along with free lunch during COVID-19 closure

COVID-19 assessment sites open at seven locations in Northeast Tennessee

Disruption grows: Nations try to slow virus, help economies

Southwest Virginia school systems kick off meal deliveries

TSSAA keeps alive South’s state tournament hopes

Small business loans for coronavirus impact available

‘Supplies are running low’ at Hunger First

COVID-19: What do you really need to know?

Tuesday, March 17

Schedule changes

🔹 The Washington County Tennessee Library will close to the public, effective 6 p.m., March 18, until further notice. In addition, in accordance with CDC recommendations, all programs will be suspended until May 11. “Although our doors will be closed, staff will still be in the building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to renew books, answer questions and any other help we can provide. All materials may be returned in our book and A/V drops. We will strive to provide the best service possible to our patrons during this uncertain time.” Patrons can reach the Jonesborough Library at 423-753-1800 and the Gray Library at 423-477-1550. For links to the library’s many online services, visit www.wclibrarytn.org.

🔹 los closure of Bristol City Schools, Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools has been extended through Friday, April 3, 2020. This includes all extra-curricular and athletic activities.

🔹 los Rogersville City School special called board meeting for Thursday, March 19, has been postponed. Date will be announced at a later time.

🔹 The fish fry at Oak Glen Community Center in Fall Branch, scheduled for March 20, has been canceled.

🔹 Volunteer Ruritan of West Carters Valley has canceled its fish fry scheduled for Friday, March 20.

🔹 St. Dominic Catholic Church in Kingsport has canceled its fish fry scheduled for Friday, March 20.

🔹 The Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism announced it has canceled its “Heritage Fridays” programs in March. Friday’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway, the April 3 event at Warriors Path and April 17 event at Kingsport Theatre Guild are all canceled.

🔹 The Hawkins County Commission meeting, scheduled for March 23, at 6 p.m. has been canceled.

🔹 The Appalachian District United Methodist Fellowship meeting, scheduled for Monday, March 23, has been canceled due to the coronavirus problem.

🔹 The steak dinner by Fairview #80 Order of Eastern Star, planned for March 29, has been canceled.

🔹 Virginia’s 75 Department of Motor Vehicles offices, as well as mobile units, will close to the public. Online services will remain available, and anyone needing to renew a license or vehicle registration is encouraged to do so online. For those who cannot renew online, or whose license or registration expires before May 15, DMV will grant a 60-day extension.

🔹 United Way of Southwest Virginia announced that, “Due to the uncertainty of current health concerns, we have asked our employees to postpone in-person trainings and events, as well as work remotely as advised by President Trump. These were difficult but necessary decisions. We will remain accessible and operational and intend to share content through email and social media platforms.”

🔹 The Virginia High School League announced, “Official team matches for VHSL esports will be suspended for the next two weeks. Continuation of regular season matches will be reassessed during this time. Students will continue to have access to their PlayVS platform accounts, and if they have access to equipment outside their school facilities, can continue to play the games remotely. Not all students or systems have the same access to resources, and we feel it best to follow the instructions of the Governor and State Superintendent, and suspend esports programs along with all other school activities.

News updates

🔹 Ballad Health and East Tennessee State University announced Tuesday that Dr. Jonathan Moorman, division chief for ETSU’s Infectious, Inflammatory and Immunologic Disease and vice chair of research and scholarship at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, is joining the Ballad Health Corporate Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) as a liaison with ETSU and the medical community. More details on this and all COVID-19 updates and information are available on www.balladhealth.org/COVID19. Total positive COVID-19 cases in Ballad Health facilities: 0.

🔹 The Southern Conference is canceling all athletics-related activities for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year following unanimous votes of the league’s Council of Presidents and directors of athletics. It includes competition, championships, organized practices and meetings, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. “With the recent developments during this unprecedented coronavirus crisis, the membership feels it is necessary to revise our position and cancel all athletic related activities for the spring,” Southern Conference Commissioner Jim Schaus said. “The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is of utmost importance and discontinuing all activities is prudent and necessary. My heart breaks for those student-athletes who will not get the opportunity to compete in Southern Conference regular-season and championship events this year as well as some potentially in NCAA championships. However, protecting their health will always be most important and supporting their welfare our hallmark.”

🔹 Food City is adjusting store hours of operation to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily, and designating the first hour of operation from 7 to 8 a.m. for customers 65 and older, as well as customers with underlying health conditions. “At Food City, the safety of our valued customers and dedicated team of associates is our top priority. With the continuing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, effective immediately, we are temporarily adjusting our store hours of operation to 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily, to give our associates additional time to clean, sanitize and restock. The first hour of operation from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. will be specifically designated for customers 65 and older, as well as customers with underlying health conditions to shop to avoid busier shopping periods. We are working diligently to continue to maintain stock levels to service our customers and are in constant communication with supply chain teams.”

🔹 Kroger Mid-Atlantic announced adjusted operating hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Kroger stores and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Kroger Fuel Centers until further notice. The company also enacted its Emergency Leave Guidelines, allowing paid time off for associates diagnosed with, or placed under mandatory quarantine, for COVID-19. To keep stories stocked and to support those looking for permanent jobs, Kroger Mid-Atlantic also said it has hundreds of immediate positions available. The positions are combined across our retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers. Candidates may apply via jobs.kroger.com, and could be placed for employment within several days of applying.

🔹 The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger/Zero Waste Foundation announced a $3 million commitment to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation’s $3 million commitment will be equally distributed between the Foundation’s nonprofit partners, Feeding America and No Kid Hungry. The funding will not only support local food banks nationwide, but also fund initiatives that ensure children, whose schools may be closed, still have access to nutritious meals.

🔹 Conference Carolinas Anunciado it has decided to cancel its spring championships and the remainder of its athletics competitions through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. The conference had tried to keep open the possibility of returning to athletics competition and host its spring championships in April, but it has been determined that this is no longer viable due to the continued evolution of the COVID-19 public health threat. «All involved in Conference Carolinas have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to see if there was any way that we could continue athletics competition this academic year, but we believe it is not in our best interest for numerous reasons,” Commissioner Chris Colvin said. “Once again, we understand the ramifications of what this means for our student-athletes, coaches and administrators. However, the growing scale of the pandemic coupled with the NCAA’s recent decision to grant an additional season of eligibility to spring sports student-athletes changes the dynamic for our member institutions and student-athletes.” Last week, the NCAA made the decision to cancel all of its remaining winter and spring championships. The safety and well-being of Conference Carolinas student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans are always of the utmost importance. Conference Carolinas will continue to monitor all of the important and relevant information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

🔹 Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement on Ninth Congressional District traveling staff office hours: “The coronavirus outbreak has led to a great deal of uncertainty in planning for the coming weeks, and this includes the schedule for Ninth District traveling staff office hours. Some of the locations that host my staff in the Ninth District’s jurisdictions have decided to close temporarily during this public health situation, and others could make the same decision. If your jurisdiction is still scheduled to host traveling office hours, I encourage you to call my district office in Abingdon or check my social media accounts during the duration of the coronavirus outbreak to make sure they are still being held. If you planned to attend the traveling office hours in a jurisdiction where they have been canceled, please contact my district offices. The Abingdon office can be reached at 276-525-1405, and the Christiansburg office can be reached at 540-381-5671. Contacting these offices could also allow for making alternative arrangements for meetings with my staff.”

🔹 Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced additional steps to help Virginians impacted by novel coronavirus (COVID-19) stop the spread of the virus in the Commonwealth, and to protect public health. “Everyone must play a role to help flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of this virus, and that starts with social distancing,” said Governor Northam. “We know this will be a hardship for many businesses, and we are assisting workers affected by closures. Public health relies on every individual using common sense and making responsible decisions. We can and will get through this difficult time. But we must work together to do so.” Among the steps: Northam told Virginians to avoid non-essential gatherings of more than 10 people, per federal guidelines. This does not include normal operations at essential services such as manufacturers, distribution centers, airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, grocery stores, or pharmacies. Those with chronic health conditions or aged 65 or older should self-quarantine. Public health experts advise that individuals with underlying medical conditions and those aged 65 or older are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. All restaurants, fitness centers and theaters are mandated to significantly reduce their capacity to 10 patrons, or close. Restaurants are encouraged to continue carry-out and takeaway options.

🔹 Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam requested and the Supreme Court of Virginia granted a judicial emergency in response to COVID-19. From Monday, March 16, through Monday, April 6, non-essential, non-emergency court proceedings in all district and circuit courts are suspended absent a specific exemption. This includes a prohibition on new eviction cases for tenants who are unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19. All non-exempted court deadlines are tolled and extended for a period of 21 days.

🔹 Zaxby’s announced its services will be limited to drive-thru only, effective today. “All Zaxby’s team members will continue to take additional steps to clean and thoroughly sanitize the restaurants to safeguard the health and safety of our guests using the drive-thru. This includes our standard practice of strict cleaning and hygiene-related protocols, disinfecting work areas, equipment and apparel, and not working while sick,” the statement said.

🔹 Bojangles announced it will close its dining rooms across all its restaurants and offer only to-go options, including drive-thru service, takeout and delivery where available, to support local communities’ efforts to control the spread of coronavirus. The change will take effect immediately. Most stores will continue to operate on a normal schedule with some flexibility for individual franchise operators who deem it necessary to adjust hours to support team members and customers effectively.

Lee mas

NASCAR intends to run all Cup races

Three Sullivan systems now out until at least April 6

COVID-19 in Sullivan: a matter of when, not if, community spread will be detected

ETSU establishes COVID-19 testing site

Make-a-wish event in Kingsport postponed

Food City adjusts store hours of operation, will hire 2,500 associates

Kingsport schools feeding program open to all 18 and younger

Monday, March 16

Schedule changes

🔹 NASCAR announced the Food City 500 race weekend, April 3-5, at Bristol Motor Speedway has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date. BMS officials will continue to work closely with NASCAR on a rescheduled race date, while maintaining contact with local and federal government and health officials for the latest information on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

🔹 University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd has announced all in-person delivery of classes will be moved online for the remainder of the spring semester and alternative commencement ceremonies will be planned at all UT campuses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. “In an effort to avoid further disruption for our students, faculty and staff, we will move instruction entirely online for the remainder of the spring semester,” Boyd said. “In addition, commencement ceremonies will not be held in May. Each campus is looking at alternative commencement options at this time.” Each campus will be sending out specific communications to their faculty, students and staff regarding the impact to its respective campuses.

🔹 The YMCA of Bristol will close at 9 p.m., Monday, March 16, and remain closed until at least Monday, March 30, the YMCA Board of Directors and CEO Rick Matthews announced Monday. “As an organization rooted in social responsibility, we must do our part and take the steps needed to help slow the spread of this virus,” Matthews says. “Our decision to temporarily close the facility is based on the advice of state and national government and health agencies, and has one central goal in mind — to protect the health and well-being of our community and staff. We will continue to monitor the situation so that we make the most informed and thoughtful decisions throughout this unprecedented event.”

🔹 The City of Bristol, Tennessee, announced certain city services may be modified in order to limit the potential for spreading the virus. Effective Tuesday, March 17, all parks and recreation programming, including senior adult trips, instructor-led classes and special events are canceled until further notice. Efforts will be made to reschedule programs, and participant fees will be refunded for canceled programs. All city parks and facilities, including the Slater Community, will remain open at this time. Anyone feeling ill is strongly encouraged to avoid these areas and stay home. The Citizens Police Academy, set to begin April 6, has been canceled. Driving schools conducted by the Bristol TN Police Department are canceled for the remainder of March. Bristol, TN, Municipal and Juvenile Court judicial proceedings remain suspended through Tuesday, March 31.

🔹 Kingsport Speedway is postponing its 2020 season opener, originally scheduled for March 21, due to concerns over coronavirus. The event will take place at a date to be announced later, according to a news release issued late Monday.

🔹 Due to concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, members and visitors, the offices of your Kingsport Chamber are temporarily closed. Staff members are working from home and have access to emails and voicemails and will respond to any messages accordingly. For general information or any questions, please call 423-392-8800 and someone will respond to your call. Thanks for your understanding and please be safe and stay well.

🔹 The Virginia Department of Corrections announced Monday that volunteers will not be allowed to enter correctional facilities until further notice. Last week, the Virginia DOC canceled all offender visitation until further notice. While visitation at correctional facilities is cancelled for now, off-site video visitation, facilitated through Assisting Families of Inmates (AFOI), remains available.

🔹 Keep Kingsport Beautiful is canceling its March 19 “Edible Landscaping” seminar with Christy Shivell of Shy Valley Farm Studio & Garden. In addition, the Keep Kingsport Beautiful Tree Fund Planting scheduled for Friday, April 3, has been postponed until further notice.

🔹 All Kingsport-sponsored programs, classes and events have been suspended indefinitely. This decision comes from City Manager Chris McCartt at the recommendation of the CDC and the Sullivan County Regional Health Department. All city facilities will remain open under normal operating hours. City staff will attempt to reschedule any paid programs and honor tickets that have already been sold.

🔹 Hands On! Discovery Center will close to the general public from Wednesday, March 18, to Tuesday, March 31. “The health and safety of our community is our top priority. We hope to re-open the Discovery Center as soon as possible with guidance from health officials,” the announcement read. “If you have any questions, please contact us through social media or email at [email protected]»

🔹 Symphony of the Mountains, at the direction of its board, has canceled or postponed most remaining concerts and events for the 2019-2020 season. The “Happy Birthday Beethoven Celebration,” originally scheduled for Saturday, March 14, will now occur as part of the 2020-21 season. The Voices of the Mountains concert, scheduled for April 3, has been canceled, along with all remaining rehearsals. The Youth and Primo Orchestra concerts and Youth for Youth concert have been canceled, along with all remaining rehearsals for the season. The “Viennese Ball” Symphony Gala, scheduled for April 4, has been postponed until Sept. 19 at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center. The SOTM Brass Quintet concert, on April 26, in Big Stone Gap is still planned. A decision regarding the event will be made in April.

🔹 Second Harvest Food Bank and community pantry/soup kitchen partners continue to operate normal hours. “We are working with agency partners to establish emergency disaster pantries and communicating with school officials to determine if mobile pantries are needed. The food bank has established critical function plans to maintain basic business operations if needed,“ Rhonda Chafin, Executive Director Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, said Monday.

🔹 YWCA NETN and SWVA has canceled its Easter Eggstravaganza. “We know this event is a beloved tradition for many families, and have not taken this decision lightly. However, the health, safety and security of our staff, volunteers, their families and yours is of utmost importance to us,” the statement said.

🔹 The Make-A-Wish Foundation has postponed a special wish by 6-year-old Lucas Kinley that was to take place in Kingsport on Thursday and Friday. Lucas was planning to be a superhero and save his home town of Kingsport, with the help of Kingsport police, fire and Pal’s Sudden Service. A date on when the wish will take place has not been determined.

🔹 Hawkins County Schools and Rogersville City School will be closed from Tuesday, March 17, through Tuesday, March 31, in reaction to COVID-19 concerns.

🔹 In a release issued Monday afternoon, UETHDA announced changes to its commodity food distribution for March. «Due to the expanding Covid-19 pandemic, the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency will begin adjusting all Commodity Distributions for the month of March. Items will be distributed through a drive-thru option on a first come, first served basis, to income eligible households until all commodities are gone. This will provide for the safety of recipients as well as the volunteers and staff. All recipients must be residents of Tennessee to be eligible for this service. This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Visit www.uethda.org to learn more.

🔹 NCG Cinema announced it will close all 24 NCG locations, including the Fort Henry Mall location in Kingsport. “With the well-being of our NCG family of employees and our loyal patrons as our top priority, we have made the difficult decision that suspending our operations is the best way we can help limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These closures will go into effect Monday, March 16, at 3 p.m. EST across all 24 NCG locations… While operations are suspended, we will be taking additional steps to clean and sanitize our facilities to help ensure that we have the highest quality of cleanliness for our staff and guests to return to,” the statement said.

🔹 The Diocese of Knoxville has closed Catholic schools, including St. Dominic in Kingsport, through April 13 and will institute at-home learning for students. “Due to staggered spring break schedules… Catholic schools in the Knoxville region and St. Mary’s in Johnson City will begin at-home instruction on Monday, March 23. St. Dominic Catholic School in Kingsport will begin at-home learning on Monday, March 30.” Last week, the Diocese of Knoxville Catholic schools suspended all athletics, extracurricular, fine arts, fundraising and other school-related events. “We will continue to evaluate and assess the situation and make further decisions as needed,” a statement from the Diocese reads. “While conducting in-home learning, schools will continue to deep-clean the facilities targeting COVID-19, MRSA, flu and common cold viruses. Teachers and administrators are prepared for at-home learning. Iowa assessments for elementary students will be administered beginning the week of April 20.”

🔹 Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced the 2020 National Archery in the Schools State Tournament, April 2-3, is canceled. All TWRA shooting ranges remain closed, and all TWRA Hunter Education and Boating classes are canceled until further notice.

🔹 Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull announced he is postponing the scheduled Mayor’s Town Hall event, originally scheduled March 31, at the Renaissance Center to a future date to be determined. “The City will continue to listen to citizens and communicate important public information through electronic and other means. I am available for individual and small group meetings as well as responding to email and telephone contacts,” the statement reads. «Approximately 100 citizens attended each of the previous Town Hall events. In view of the on-going COVID 19 Pandemic, it is prudent to curtail public meetings of more than 50 citizens. Accordingly, I encourage our citizens to avoid large public gatherings; observe good public health practices, such as covering coughs and sneezes, refrain from shaking hands, frequent hand washing, and surface cleaning; and practice social distancing. I appreciate that Kingsport citizens continue to act in a socially responsible manner. Together we will endure this difficult period until the health issues subside.”

🔹 Pro-Art Association is postponing all performances through April 16. “The safety of our patrons, students, employees and the greater community is of the utmost importance to us. In compliance with the State of Emergency in effect for Virginia in regards to COVID-19, The Pro-Art Association will postpone all scheduled performances through April 16. We will reevaluate the situation at that point in time to determine when and if we can safely reschedule the postponed performances and proceed with the remaining programs of our 43rd season.

🔹 World Choice Investments is closing its facilities in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Branson, Missouri; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, until May 9. Those closures affect The Comedy Barn Theater, Dolly Parton’s Stampede (Pigeon Forge and Brandson), Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud, Pirates Voyage (Pigeon Forge and Myrtle Beach), and Smoky Mountain Opry. “The team at World Choice Investments will meet with the cast members at each facility this week. They continue to watch the conditions within our markets, consult with its medical experts and to follow CDC guidelines. Any additional changes will be released at a later time should they occur,” the release said.

🔹 Eastman Softball announced it will cancel the 2020 tournament, and immediately roll over any 2020 entry fees to the 2021 tournament (April 8-11, 2021).

🔹ACT has rescheduled the April 4, national ACT test date to June 13, 2020, in response to concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). ACT will communicate directly with all students currently registered for the April 4 ACT test. All students registered for the April 4 test date will receive an email from ACT in the next few days informing them of the postponement and instructions for next steps. “ACT is committed to making every effort to help those students impacted by this test date change, particularly those high school seniors who are facing deadlines for fall 2020 college admission,” said ACT CEO Marten Roorda. METROore information will be shared as it becomes available in the days ahead.

🔹 The Kingsport Christian Women’s Connection ladies luncheon, originally scheduled for Thursday, March 19, has been canceled.

🔹 The 12th Antique Appraisal Fair and Show, originally scheduled for March 21, has been postponed until late June, according to Tammy Kinser, Director of Tourism for the Greene County Partnership and event coordinator. “We are in the process now of contacting all vendors, all antique stores and businesses that have been so wonderful to aid us in the promotion of this award-winning event.”

🔹 The “Elvis Extravaganza,” scheduled to be held at the Boozy Creek Community Center, 1989 Shelleys Road, Bristol, Virginia, on Saturday, March 21, has been postponed until April 18. For more information, call 276-466-0026.

🔹 Barter Theatre will be postponing the opening of “Macbeth,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Peter Pan,” which were originally scheduled for March 26, April 2 and April 7 respectively. “This decision is in response to Governor Northam’s ban on large gatherings, and to ensure the safety of Barter’s staff, volunteers, and patrons,” officials announced Monday. “Barter is in the process of filming these productions for possible streaming to patrons and is working to finalize the technical and contractual requirements necessary to proceed with the distribution. Barter continues to offer its flexible and free exchange policy for all of its shows and hopes that patrons will show their support for the company by continuing to purchase tickets to productions that are scheduled for later this year.” Learn more about Barter’s efforts.

🔹 The Scott County Economic Development Authority (EDA) has canceled its March 18 meeting. “As the COVID-19 virus continues to affect our communities and with the Governor’s urging to cancel all non-essential meetings, theScott County EDA chairman has canceled the March 18 board meeting. The next regular meeting is April 15. All meetings are open to the public,” the notice reads.

🔹 Knoxville Opera Guild has canceled the March 29 High Tea Opera Up Close.

🔹 Tennessee State Parks remain open and free of charge for outdoor recreation as officials continue to monitor the impact of coronavirus in Tennessee. “Time outdoors is proven to relieve stress and improve mental and physical health and is a way to maintain social distance. Local and state parks are useful destinations to find solitude in nature and enjoy the outdoors for solo adventurers and small groups alike,” according to a release issued Monday. “With open green spaces and miles of trails, individuals and families can explore on their own or establish a safe distance between themselves and others. Parks provide opportunities for both adventure-seekers and those looking for relaxation and solitude.” Parks are taking recommended precautions to provide a safe environment for staff and visitors, while recognizing the need for Tennesseans to practice self-care both mentally and physically.

🔹 The United Way of Greater Kingsport announced remaining sessions of VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) programs are canceled. All in-person group visits to agencies have also been suspended through April 10. The in-person March board meeting (March 24) has also been canceled. The United Way office remains open.

News updates

🔹 As Ballad Health announced Friday, on Monday at 6 a.m., Ballad Health started visitation restrictions, hospitals started limiting public entry points and engaging all visitors in screening protocols. More details on this and all COVID-19 updates and information are available on www.balladhealth.org/COVID19. Total positive COVID-19 cases in Ballad Health facilities: 0.

🔹 The Tennessee Department of Health reports the COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is now 52 as of March 16, 2020. The age range of cases is 11 to 82 years old. Of the 52 cases, 25 are in Davidson County and 18 are in Williamson County. Locally, there is one reported case in Sullivan County. There is one case in Jefferson County, one in Knox County and one in Sevier County.

🔹 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued a statement Monday morning, urging every school district in Tennessee “to close as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020, at the latest. Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020, to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31,” the statement from the governor’s office reads.

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Kingsport suspends all programs and events; facilities to remain open

Area school systems shut down spring sports for two weeks

MLB delays opening day to mid-May at earliest due to virus

Schools in Hawkins, Rogersville City closed until March 31

Tennessee schools to close by Friday, remain closed until March 31

Food City 500 weekend, Kingsport opener postponed

Sunday, March 15

Schedule changes

🔹 Chick-fil-A on Stone Drive in Kingsport announced it had closed its dining room. In a Facebook post, the restaurant said, “Out of an abundance of caution and care for our team members, guests and community, we have closed our dining room. We will provide service exclusively through the drive thru beginning Monday, March 16, 2020.” It goes on to encourage guests to download the app for mobile ordering (with drive thru pickup) to streamline service. The Chick-fil-A corporate website says, “Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of everyone who comes into our restaurants. As we navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact. Some of our restaurants may only offer service through our drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options. Thanks for your patience. We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you.”

🔹 The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA will suspend all operations in all program areas, including all Schools Out child care, effective March 15 until at least March 30. A notice on the Facebook page reads: “Keeping our community safety, health, and needs as priorities, the Kingsport YMCA is following the recommendations of the Sullivan County Health Department and Y-USA to suspend all operations in all program areas, including all Schools Out child care, effective March 15th until at least March 30th… The Y desires to do our best to support our local healthcare to help flatten the curve of exposure of COVID-19. We have been diligent in our communication with other YMCA’s across the country as well as state, school, health and public officials to ensure we’re planning the appropriate course of action.”

🔹 UPDATE: With the closing of Kingsport City Schools, Girls Inc. of Kingsport will officially be closed effective immediately through March 27. “As we stated before, the girls we serve are our main priority; we feel that closing is the safest decision for them, their families, and the community. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this closing may cause,” the statement from Girls Inc. reads.

🔹 Bristol City, Kingsport City and Sullivan County Schools will be closed, effective immediately, through Friday, March 27. This includes all extracurricular and athletic activities. The decision was announced in a joint letter to stakeholders at 5 p.m. Sunday. Each school district will be in communication with details specific to your individual situation regarding instruction, food, staff expectations, etc. Read full letter here.

🔹 The Norton City School Board has rescheduled the March 16 budget work session and regular school board meeting for Monday, March 23. The work session will begin at 6 p.m. and the board meeting at 6:45 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Norton City Municipal Building.

🔹 ACTUALIZAR: «As a precautionary measure regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum will temporarily close to the public from Monday, March 16, through Monday, March 30. The Birthplace of Country Music organization (BCM) considers the health, welfare, and safety of our visitors, staff, and community to be our top priority. That priority dictates this temporary closing, which halts all activities and events at the museum during the period of closure. BCM will continue to monitor the situation regarding the virus and will rely on the guidance from public health officials including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization concerning any decisions moving forward. We will communicate any additional changes to the museum schedule that become necessary and/or appropriate. We will be contacting visitors who have tour reservations during the closure to reschedule or refund. If you have a tour scheduled on March 31 or later and want to discuss it with us, please call 423-573-1927.”

🔹 The Sequoyah Council-Boy Scouts of America notified Scouting families, in a letter dated Friday, March 13, that all council or district meetings, events and activities have been postponed due to COVID-19 through April 5, 2020. Committees can use technology to conduct business by conference call or webinar. Camp Davy Crockett will also be closed from March 15 until April 5. Certain vital meetings will be conducted in a virtual format by the committee chair. As all events are postponed, refunds will be reviewed if those activities are canceled. Expo card sales are extended to allow units ample time to achieve their spring fundraising goals. The letter, also addressed unit level activities: “Effective immediately and until further notice, we are directing all units to hold meetings and activities based on your school system’s closures. This is for all units, whether your unit meets at a school or not. If your school system is closed, the unit should not meet or hold activities. If your school system is open, your unit should consider your individual circumstances, the wishes of your chartered organization, and current CDC and local health department guidelines.”

🔹 Starting Sunday, Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets normally open 24 hours will be open only from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice.

🔹 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Sites service suspended until further notice. This includes the site at the Kingsport Senior Center and all other local sites. “As coronavirus (COVID-19) developments change hour by hour, AARP Foundation is doing its part to flatten the curve of transmission. A top priority for us is ensuring we are protecting those most at risk, including our volunteers and taxpayers. Therefore, we are suspending AARP Foundation Tax-Aide services beginning March 16 until further notice.

🔹 Due to campus schedule changes, Grad Kickoff at Northeast State has been postponed until April 21. Students should have received an email with details.

🔹 The VHSCA All Star Game, originally scheduled for March 21, has been postponed. “This game will be played no earlier than Sunday, May 17, and even later, if need be,” Game Director Phil Robbins announced last week.

🔹 To support efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Knoxville Museum of Art will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 16, and will remain closed until further notice. All events and programs scheduled through April 1 have been canceled or postponed, according to Director of Marketing Angela Thomas. «We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates at www.knoxart.org or the knoxart social media sites. The KMA looks forward to reopening soon and welcoming visitors again.”

News updates

🔹  The Virginia Department of Health updated its dashboard, and there continue to be no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the southwest region. The VDH COVID-19 dashboard is available online.

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Kingsport, Sullivan County schools to close through March 27

Hawkins County courts affected by COVID-19

Saturday, March 14

Schedule changes

🔹 First Broad Street United Methodist Church will not hold services March 15 and March 22. Live streaming available on Facebook.

🔹Waverly Road Presbyterian Church will be moving its services online for the next two weeks (March 15 and 22). All church programs have also been canceled. The food pantry will remain open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon.

🔹Appalachian Sustainable Development has canceled its open house on March 19. The ASD’s official ribbon cutting is still scheduled for May 21 at 5:30 p.m.

🔹The primero Development District and CareerQuest TN planning team are postponing CareerQuest TN until the spring of 2021. The event was scheduled to take place April 23-24 at East Tennessee State University.

🔹Christ Fellowship Church in Kingsport is moving its Sunday service online for March 15. The service will be posted on the church’s website (christfellowship.me) at 9 a.m. and be available all day.

🔹Bloomingdale Baptist Church is canceling all services for the week of March 15-21. That includes all worship services, Bible studies, Sunday School, Celebrate Recovery, Youth, Awana, and opening the Christian Activity Center for walking.

🔹Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Kingsport announced that Holy Trinity’s Pastor and Church Council have chosen to cancel Sunday Worship, Wednesday night Soup Suppers and Lenten worship, and other group meetings, until Palm Sunday, April 5. Their Facebook post says, “In a letter to the congregation this evening (March 13), Pastor Scottie reminds us that God’s Word refers to our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit, and as such we need to care for it. This decision is not made lightly. It is in keeping with a recommendation from our Synod Bishop. Please be in prayer for all as we face this global crisis. Also please pray for our church that we may find ways to minister to one another and to the community to meet the special needs brought on as a result of this situation.”

🔹Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City announced its March 15 and March 22 services will be online only. GFC will offer live streaming both Sundays at 9:15 and 11 a.m. Pastor Matt Murphy said, “we are seeking are seeking to love our community by protecting our community from potential risk, especially those who are vulnerable. We plan to stay engaged with you as we continue to seek God and explore new opportunities to reach out community together during this unique time. Visit gfcnow.com to learn more.

🔹Mafair United Methodist Church has canceled all group activities at the church for the next two weeks. Staff may or may not work in their office space at the church during this time, but all offices will be closed to the public. The church will offer sermons and morning prayer on Facebook Live for the next two weeks.

🔹Zach Williams – The Rescue Story Tour’s March 28 concert at Freedom Hall Civic Center in Johnson City is postponed. Current tickets will be valid for the rescheduled event. If you cannot make it to the rescheduled event, you can receive a refund at your point of purchase.

News updates

🔹 Girls Inc. of Kingsport management updated its members, parents, volunteers and community on precautions it’s taking against COVID-19. “Unless closings are mandated by the state or city, we will remain open to girls. Serving the girls is our main priority and we intend to continue to do so in the safest way possible. With that being said, we will be closed Friday, March 20, to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building to prepare to be open for spring break. During programming, we are taking every precaution necessary to ensure our building is clean and safe for all members.”

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Hawkins County courts affected by COVID-19

How is Kingsport responding to the coronavirus?

Extra year of eligibility for basketball seniors gaining support

Roe: Trump’s order to limit travel was ‘right thing to do’

House passes aid bill after Trump declares national emergency

Friday, March 13

Schedule changes

🔹 los SAT test scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at UVA Wise has been canceled.

🔹 The Symphony of the Mountains concert, scheduled for Saturday, March 14, has been postponed. If you are a ticket holder, you will be able to use your ticket at the rescheduled concert. If you are unable to attend, the symphony will refund the purchase price. No date has been set for the rescheduled concert. For more information call (423) 392-8423.

🔹 Grace Fellowship Church in Johnson City announced its March 15 and March 22 services will be online only. GFC will offer live streaming both Sundays at 9:15 and 11 a.m. Pastor Matt Murphy said, “we are seeking are seeking to love our community by protecting our community from potential risk, especially those who are vulnerable. We plan to stay engaged with you as we continue to seek God and explore new opportunities to reach out community together during this unique time. Visitar gfcnow.com to learn more.

🔹 The Bishop of the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church is recommending Methodist churches cancel worship services and other group activities for the next two weeks. Locally, Mafair United Methodist Church has already decided to honor that request and cancel all group activities at the church. Staff may or may not work in their office space at the church during this time, but all offices will be closed to the public. The church will offer sermons and morning prayer on Facebook Live for the next two weeks.

🔹 The Birthplace of Country Music Museum will remain open and operate on a normal schedule; however, BCM has decided to postpone all additional events at the Museum through March 31. Decisions on events in April and beyond will be made as appropriate.

🔹 The Dollywood Company announced it will postpone the grand opening of Dollywood and close its Stampede and Pirates Voyage shows until March 28. “The coronavirus pandemic is an escalating and ever-changing issue. As a result, The Dollywood Company is delaying the opening of its Dollywood theme park to guests for the next two weeks beginning March 14. Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Pirates Voyage also will be closed beginning March 16. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins will remain open at this time. “We have been following the coronavirus crisis very closely and based on developments within the last 24 hours and in consultation with health experts, we are going to delay our season opening until March 28,” Dollywood President Craig Ross said. “Despite the delay in opening, we are committed to taking care of our hosts while the park remains closed.” “We need to focus on good health and praying for those who are affected. We know brighter days are ahead,” Dolly Parton added. Dollywood continues to watch the conditions within the East Tennessee area, to consult with its medical experts and to follow CDC guidelines. The park will communicate any additional changes should they occur.

🔹 East Tennessee State University has announced its Wayne G. Basler Center for  Physical Activity (CPA) will be closed and all campus recreation programs and events canceled, March 14-April 12. Call 423-439-7980 or email [email protected] for details.

🔹 los Carter Fold released this statement on its upcoming shows: “Based on Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency today and his administration’s recommendation that large public events be cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Carter Family Fold will be closed Saturday, March 14, and Saturday, March 21, 2020. Should further closures be necessary, announcements will be made on our website and Facebook prior to those events. We regret that cancelling shows is necessary, but we want to do all we can to keep everyone safe.”

🔹 Mountain Empire Community College has canceled the following events: After Life program, scheduled for March 15; all intramural activities; MECC’s Scholarships Recognition Night, scheduled for March 24; and MECC’s Hall of Honor Gala, scheduled for April 18. Additional event cancellations may follow.

🔹 Next week’s Tennessee Ag Day on the Hill activities have been postponed, according to a joint statement from Speaker Cameron Sexton and Lt. Gov. Randy McNally. “The General Assembly is encouraging groups who have planned nonessential events and activities in and around the Cordell Hull Building and Capitol to consider rescheduling or postponing,” the statement reads. As a response to this request, and in conjunction with other relevant concerns, the 2020 Tennessee Ag Day on the Hill Committee has elected to postpone the event, with hopes of rescheduling in the near future.

🔹 The Dobyns-Bennett Athletics Department and soccer team announced that “Due to circumstances beyond our control and recent restrictions placed on a number of our participants, our annual (Jon Metcalf Highland Cup) tournament, March 20-22, has been canceled in its entirety.”

🔹 Johnson City Symphony Orchestra announced it will cancel its March 21 concert. “We have already rebooked our incredible guest, Melissa White, for our April concert. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to keep our audience and musicians healthy and stand by to bring people together with great music once we emerge from this health situation,” the letter to patrons reads. The following options are available to those who have already purchased tickets: Donate tickets to the JCSO; exchange tickets for a voucher to be redeemed for any 2020-2021 concert; or request a refund for the value of the ticket. Contact Katie Hallenbeck at the JCSO office from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at 423-926-8742 or email [email protected]

🔹 Literacy Council of Kingsport announced it will suspend all classes through March 31. A statement from Executive Director Dawn Blake says, “With the recent news that COVID-19 is present in our area, our board of directors has decided that it is in the best interest to suspend all classes from March 16-March 31. The board will reevaluate the situation on March 30 and determine when classes may resume… The health and safety of our tutors, students, volunteers and staff is our main priority at Literacy Council of Kingsport.” On Thursday, the agency announced it had canceled its 14th Annual Sy SCRABBLE fundraiser, originally scheduled for Friday, March 13, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. For those who had already purchased tickets, the ticket will remain valid for the future Savvy SCRABBLE® Social Fundraiser event.

🔹 The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency released a statement about its hunter education classes and firing ranges: “Due to the Governor Bill Lee’s declared state of emergency, and for the health of the public, all Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency hunter education classes and firings ranges will be closed until further notice. Governor Lee issued Executive Order No. 14 on Thursday declaring a state of emergency in Tennessee to facilitate the treatment and containment of COVID-19.”

🔹 The Annual Saint Paddy’s Lunch Inn Fundraiser, scheduled for Friday, March 20, is postponed. The event will be rescheduled. The popular fundraiser is a benefit for The Shepherd’s Inn — Safe House/Emergency Shelter for women and their children coming from domestic violence settings or otherwise temporarily homeless. “We are disappointed to postpone this event…” says Paul Gabinet, Executive Director of The Shepherd’s Inn. “However, the health of our friends who come to eat with us and our staff is of optimum concern. The funds coming from this benefit help sustain the spring operation of the (Elizabethton) community’s only emergency shelter for these women and children. We will have a difficult time in weeks to come without the support from this event.” Anyone wishing to contribute to the work of The Shepherd’s Inn may send contributions to: The Shepherd’s Inn P.O. Box 2214 Elizabethton, TN 37644.

🔹 The Elm Springs United Methodist Church country breakfast previously scheduled for March 21 has been canceled

🔹 The United Way of Southwest Virginia is postponing the Impact Awards celebration scheduled for April 7. In a note to friends and partners, spokesperson Mary Anne Holbrook said, “We here at United Way of Southwest Virginia extend our thoughts to all who have been impacted by the outbreak to date — either directly or indirectly. Given this evolving situation, I am reaching out to you to let you know that we are postponing the Impact Awards celebration that was scheduled for Tuesday, April 7. We will make all efforts to hold this annual event in the months to come. The health and safety of our community is incredibly important to us. We are continuing to monitor updates from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Health, and other relevant agencies regarding the situation. As we make decisions about other upcoming events, we will continue to be in touch with you as things evolve.”

🔹 Tennessee State Parks released this statement: “Safety is a top priority for Tennessee State Parks. Tennessee State Parks remain open as we closely monitor COVID-19 and its presence in the state. We encourage all Tennesseans and park visitors to review information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health as it relates to the virus. We know our guests are interested in our efforts to help keep your family healthy during your visit. We have launched a page on our website to update prospective visitors on the measures we are taking. If you are planning a trip to a Tennessee State Park, we invite you to review this information.”

🔹 Jubilee Community Arts concerts and events at the Laurel Theater in Knoxville are canceled for the remainder of the spring season. This includes the 51st Jubilee Festival, March 21-22, and all other events through May 9. Full refunds will be issued for all tickets purchased in advance. Visit www.jubileearts.org for more details.

🔹 The spring meeting of Sullivan County Retired Teachers Association, originally scheduled for May, has been canceled. Activities scheduled for that meeting will be moved to the fall.

🔹 Due to COVID-19, McGlothlin Center for the Arts at Emory & Henry College is canceling the April 7 performance by Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet and Artalk on Dorothy Gillespie. Little Women is now April 21-24. The Spring Choral Concert location is TBD. The Spring Symphonic Band Concert is now April 25.

🔹 The Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville is closed to tours and visitors through March 31, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.

🔹 The Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest-running radio show, will pause performances that include a live audience through April 4, including performances on March 13-14.

🔹 Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, announced it is temporarily suspending tours beginning beginning March 16 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Though distillery operations will continue as normal, the store, restaurant and tours will close. “The closure will remain in place until the health emergency subsides. All tickets previously purchased during this time are refundable.”

🔹 All performances of Cirque du Soleil’s OVO from April 15-19 at Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena have been canceled, according to a release from the arena’s management office. Ticket buyers who bought tickets through Knoxville Tickets will be issued an automatic refund onto the credit card they used to purchase their tickets. No further action is required. Cirque du Soleil’s Touring Show Division is currently revisiting OVO’s tour plans for the rest of 2020.

News updates

🔹 Ballad Health implements visitation restrictions: As of Monday, March 16, all Ballad Health hospitals will limit their public entry points and engage all visitors in screening protocols. Visitors will also be limited to one guest per patient, and no visitors under age 12 will be allowed. Specific entrances vary per facility, and each one is clearly identified for the public. Ballad Health team members can still access restricted areas through their employee badges. Additionally, before visitors can see patients, they will answer several questions to evaluate any potential COVID-19 risk. If needed, visitors might have their temperatures checked, be given masks or not be permitted to visit. Exceptions to the one-visitor rule will be in place for the system’s birthing center and pediatric departments, which will allow two visitors per patient. Further exceptions to screening limitations and visiting hours are available for hospice, end-of-life care and other circumstances, and they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Privately employed patient sitters will follow the same screening guidance and protocols as Ballad Health team members. Additionally, Ballad Health has ceased all visitation for its long-term care facilities. Visitors will not be permitted at Francis Marion Manor Health & Rehabilitation, Marion, Virginia; Laughlin Healthcare Center, Greeneville; Madison House, Kingsport; and Wexford House, Kingsport. These restrictions also apply to clinical students and student volunteers assigned to these locations. As with general hospital visitation, case-case exceptions will be considered. These limitations will remain in place until further notice. Ballad Health will issue communication when the restrictions are lifted or modified. All COVID-19 updates and information are available online.

🔹 Pursuant to a notice from the Tennessee Supreme Court in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Kingsport Municipal Court will be temporarily closed for all in-person proceedings for the remainder of March 2020. According to a release from KPD, “All pending cases scheduled during that time frame will be postponed. Anyone having a case set for the remainder of March 2020 has the following options: 1) Satisfy the citation by paying the fine on or before the scheduled court date; 2) Call the K.P.D. Records Division at 423-229-9427 on or before the scheduled court date to have the case reset to a later date; 3) Anyone who is unable to call may visit the K.P.D. Records Division in the Kingsport Justice Center on or before the scheduled court date to have the case reset to a later date, or 4) Anyone not paying the citation or calling to have the case reset by the court date will be contacted after that time by the court

🔹 Local bishop mandates cancellation of United Methodist church services in Holston Conference: A local United Methodist bishop is mandating the cancellation of worship services and meetings in United Methodist churches under her supervision for at least two weeks, effective immediately. Bishop Mary Virginia “Dindy” Taylor is resident bishop of Holston Conference, which includes 864 churches in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and North Georgia. Her office is located in Alcoa, Tennessee. “The decision was prayerfully made to cancel worship services across the three states that make up Holston Conference,” Taylor said. “The decision is unanimous and mandatory for at least two weeks.” Taylor said she made the decision with the support of her district superintendents, “out of an abundance of caution and our concern for you, our churches, and communities.” A March 12 letter from Taylor to clergy and church leaders throughout the region cited medical advice to implement “social distancing” in faith communities to slow the transmission of COVID-19, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. “We have learned from the spread of the virus that if we delay responding the virus spreads exponentially and overwhelms our hospitals and health care systems. It is my understanding that social distancing is the most effective way of slowing the spread of the virus,” Taylor said. “This is an opportunity for creative ministry. How can we care for our neighbors?” Taylor said in a letter to Holston congregations. “Be aware of the needs of the people around you and how you can offer Christ during a challenging pandemic.” For more information about Holston Conference, visit Holston.org.

🔹 The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order stating all Tennessee courts will remain open during the coronavirus outbreak, but suspending all in-person judicial proceedings through March 31, 2020. Chief Justice Jeff Bivins declared a state of emergency for the judicial branch, which follows Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order and declaration of a state of emergency on March 12. The Order applies to state and local Tennessee courts, including appellate, trial, general sessions, juvenile and municipal courts.

🔹 Milligan College announced Thursday afternoon it would extend its spring break until March 20 and move to online-only classes through April 5.

🔹 Mountain Empire Community College is extending spring break for students by an additional week. The college is currently on a one-week break, and classes were originally scheduled to resume Monday, March 16. College offices will remain open next week. Computer labs, testing, library services, enrollment and other college services will continue to operate from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Faculty and staff will use that time to make preparations for possible additional measures such as shifting all instruction to online, implementing a hybrid approach or taking other actions for which a need may be determined. College officials will continue to monitor the situation in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other public health agencies. The College will post updated announcements as the situation changes. Students should stay in contact with their instructors by email for detailed instructions related to their specific coursework. Students in health science programs containing clinical and laboratory requirements may receive additional guidance from the Dean of Health Sciences and faculty members about continuation of clinical rotations. A number of upcoming events at MECC originally expected to attract crowds are being canceled. Up-to-date details on event plans as well as academic scheduling will be posted on the college’s website https://www.mecc.edu/coronavirus/.

🔹 Sycamore Springs Senior Living Community, an assisted living and memory care community serving Carter County, has announced safety measures to protect its residents and caregiving staff in the event of a potential outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus. “As per CDC guidelines related to COVID-19, our facility is restricting visitors at this time due to reports received from another part of the Tri-State area. We are also requesting that family members arrange for alternate ways of communication with our residents, including phone, text or videoconference, to avoid unnecessary exposure,” Executive Director Rhonda Mitchell said, in a statement. Read the full release.

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Trump declares virus pandemic a national emergency

Northam orders all Virginia K-12 schools closed for minimum of two weeks

VHSL delays start of spring sports competition

Officials cordoning off Wise County courthouse, sending sick home

ETSU announces move to online-only classes following spring break

Food City responds to the coronavirus threat

Southern Conference suspends athletic competition

TSSAA state tournaments now postponed

Northeast extending spring break, Walters State shifting to online

Thursday, March 12

Schedule changes

🔹 Eighth-grade orientation scheduled at Daniel Boone High School is canceled Thursday and will not be rescheduled. There is information on the website and students may contact the school to schedule a meeting, if needed.

🔹 Boy Scouts of America-Sequoyah Council’s Wilderness Road District Committee canceled its Thursday meeting.

🔹 Johnson City Schools postponed Thursday’s district-wide band concert. “At the recommendation of the Washington County Health Department and to err on the side of caution, Johnson City Schools has decided to postpone the District-Wide band concert this evening. While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington County, with the expectations of a large crowd, we want to take a proactive approach to protect grandparents and others who are known to be vulnerable to the virus. Because we want to use the concert as a platform to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our students, we hope to set a make-up date for the concert sometime in May,” the release reads.

🔹 Catholic Charities of East Tennessee postponed Thursday’s CCETN benefit dinner in Chattanooga.

🔹 Literacy Council of Kingsport has canceled its 14th Annual Savvy SCRABBLE fundraiser, originally scheduled for Friday, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

🔹 tnAchieves is canceling the remainder of its mandatory Tennessee Promise spring meetings “out of an abundance of caution.” Students must view a mandatory webinar to satisfy their meeting requirement. Students, families, mentors and other stakeholders should check their email for more information.

🔹 Ballad Health released a statement about its annual Shamrock 4 Miler event: “Out of an abundance of caution, Ballad Health is following current CDC/WHO guidelines regarding the novel coronavirus and large gatherings and is canceling the annual Johnston Memorial Hospital Shamrock 4 Miler and Leprechaun Walk, presented by Blue Ridge Auto Group on Friday, March 13. We recognize that many of you have trained for this event and want to honor your commitment. We encourage you to run a 4 miler in your community and share on social media with #JMHSHAMROCK. This is an annual fundraising event benefiting the Johnston Memorial Hospital fund of Ballad Health Foundation, which supports the growing needs of healthcare in Southwest Virginia. Those desiring a refund for registration fees can contact the Foundation office at 423-302-3131. If you do not request a refund, the registration fee will be donated to the Johnston Memorial Fund. We will announce at a future date when and where you can pick up your event shirt and medal. Thank you for your commitment to your health, our region’s health, and the Johnston Memorial Fund.”

🔹 Saint Dominic’s Fish Fry for Friday, March 13, has been canceled. “Sorry for the inconvenience. We hope to see you next Friday the 20th,” the notice said.

🔹 The Symphony of the Mountains concert, scheduled for Saturday, March 14, has been postponed. If you are a ticket holder, you will be able to use your ticket at the rescheduled concert. If you are unable to attend, the symphony will refund the purchase price. No date has been set for the rescheduled concert. For more information call (423) 392-8423.

🔹 The CIPA Competition at Sullivan North High School, scheduled for Saturday, March 14, has been canceled.

🔹 In a social media post Thursday, the Willow Tree Coffeehouse announced Grammy-nominated artist Will Hoge’s concert on Saturday would be canceled due to concerns about COVID-19. In the statement, it said anyone who purchased tickets would be given a refund.

🔹 Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS) canceled its March 19 gardening lecture by William Cullina. University of Pennsylvania, where Cullina is F. Otto Haas Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum, has banned all university-related travel in an effort to avoid the spread of coronavirus. SAPS plans to reschedule the lecture next year.

🔹 Connect Beyond Festival 2020 organizers announced Thursday the Asheville festival, slated for April 3-5, 2020, is officially postponed. “With recent developments surrounding COVID-19 nationally and in North Carolina, we cannot in good conscience move forward with the festival as scheduled. The safety of our guests and participants is our number one priority,” the release said.

🔹 Dollywood postponed its planned media day activities on Friday, but currently plans to open as scheduled for season passholders, and on Saturday for general guests, according to an email from Dollywood PR Director Wes Ramey. “The exciting economic news we planned to share does not seem appropriate based on what is going on. It doesn’t feel right,” Dolly said. “We need to focus on good health and praying for those who are affected. We know brighter days are ahead.” Dollywood continues to consult with its medical experts and to follow CDC guidelines and will communicate any changes should they occur.

🔹 Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center has postponed its Joggin’ for the Noggin! 5K Run/Walk, originally scheduled for March 28. Officials will work with race planners to secure another date for the event, which serves as one of the organization’s “largest yearly fundraisers,” according to Executive Director Guynn Edwards. Participants and those interested in participating are encouraged to visit www.crumleyhouse.com for news regarding the event.

News updates

🔹 Families and staff of Bristol, Kingsport, and Sullivan County Schools received a joint letter stating that until further notice, school-sponsored student travel will not take place to the following locations: Boston, MA; New York City, NY; Washington, DC and surrounding area; and all locations in California, Florida and Washington. Additional locations may be added as new information becomes available. Currently, restrictions have not been placed on school-sponsored student travel within the region. Questions regarding specific locations should be directed to the Superintendent/Director of Schools. Employees are encouraged to contact their Human Resources personnel to provide details of travel plans outside of the region. Processes for returning to work will be based on CDC and Sullivan County Health Department guidance at the time of their return.

🔹 Tusculum University leaders have decided to convert classes at all three locations to online teaching, effective Monday, March 16. Tusculum has learned about a confirmed case of coronavirus in Knox County. While that person is not a Tusculum family member, the university is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to take additional precautionary measures by shifting to online education. In addition, the South Atlantic Conference, of which Tusculum is a member, has voted to cancel all athletic practices and games for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. Tusculum wants to be clear: Its three locations will not be closed, and at this time, students can continue to live in the residence halls. We are simply converting our classes to an online setting until further notice. The following people should not return to our three campuses after Spring Break: those who believe they have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus, those who have been on a cruise, and those who have traveled internationally. Instead, they should self-quarantine for 14 days and immediately contact Dr. Lisa Johnson-Neas, dean of students, at [email protected] or 423-636-7315 to confirm they are not returning to campus. Any student who displays symptoms of the coronavirus should seek medical attention and alert Dr. Johnson-Neas. Faculty and staff members have the same responsibilities as students to keep the university informed. Should they be exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus or diagnosed with the illness, they must alert their supervisor immediately and participate in quarantining requirements at their residence. If they have a Tusculum-issued laptop, we recommend that they take that computer home each day so they have a means to continue working from home.

🔹 Northeast State Community College will extend spring break one additional week for its students. Traditional and online classes are being canceled March 16-20 to give faculty time to prepare for two weeks of fully online learning from March 23-April 3. Faculty will utilize the additional spring break week to move all coursework online. Faculty will also prepare to continue with online instruction beyond April 3, in the event it becomes necessary. The college’s campuses at Blountville, Elizabethton, Gray, Johnson City and Kingsport will be closed March 16-20 for deep cleaning with hospital-grade products. Supervisors have identified essential employees and will inform them whether they are working on campus or remotely March 16-20. Students should refrain from visiting campus, and remain at home during the extended break and while classes are delivered remotely.

🔹 At 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Ballad Health issued its first daily update. Each day, it will include any changes, new details and the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Ballad Health facilities. Total positive COVID-19 cases in Ballad Health facilities: 0.

🔹 The Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center announced it will be closing to all visitors through Sunday, April 5, due to COVID-19. The House’s Adult Day Program will also be suspended. The policy change will be reevaluated at a later date. “We are following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in being proactive with these adjustments,” Executive Director Guynn Edwards said in a statement. “Of course, we will make exceptions for emergency situations, and we ask that individuals understand we simply have the goal to limit traffic flow in our facility, as well as any potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

🔹 Tennessee Department of Corrections suspended visitation until further notice, due to COVID-19. Volunteer services will also be suspended. TDOC said in a statement that those on community supervision will be contacted by their probation and parole officers for reporting guidelines, and onsite staff screening will also begin.

🔹 Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson said, “We are continuing our cleaning and safety procedures. I am meeting with regional superintendents on Friday to discuss a regional plan.”

🔹 Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declared a state of emergency Thursday to help the state address the spread of the new coronavirus.

🔹 Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Thursday to help the state address the spread of the new coronavirus.

Sports-related updates

🔹 The TSSAA announced late Thursday that it is suspending the remainder of the girls’ state tournament and next week’s boys’ state tournament. Whether we will be able to reschedule these events will depend on the length of the suspension and the availability of facilities.

🔹 Due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Southern Conference, at the recommendation of the league’s Council of Presidents and directors of athletics, will suspend all athletic competition through March 30, Commissioner Jim Schaus announced Thursday. “Our membership feels that it is imperative to protect the health and welfare of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans by suspending athletic competition due to this very serious virus,” Schaus said. The decision was reached with the input of NCAA, conference and school administrators.The SoCon will closely monitor the situation, as well as national, state and local policies regarding the coronavirus, and re-evaluate the potential for resumption of competition.

🔹 Conference Carolinas, which includes King University, has suspended athletics competition until further notice. The safety and well-being of Conference Carolinas student-athletes, coaches, administrators and fans are always of the utmost importance. For this reason, Conference Carolinas has made the difficult decision due to the evolving COVID-19 public health threat to suspend all athletics competition until further notice. “We fully understand the ramifications of what this means for our student-athletes, coaches and administrators who put in so much hard work daily for their institutions, but we feel this is the right decision currently,” Commissioner Chris Colvin said. “Our first priority is always the protection of our student-athletes along with our coaches and administrators. I would like to thank all of our presidents and administrators for working together to help us make this incredibly tough decision.” Earlier today, the NCAA made the decision to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships, which includes all winter NCAA Division II competitions in which Conference Carolinas institutions are presently competing.

🔹 The VHSL canceled the Class 1 boys and girls state championship basketball games following Gov. Ralph Northam’s declaration of a state of emergency in the commonwealth. The Class 3, 4, 5 and 6 finals had already been canceled. Honaker and Surry Curry were scheduled to play the Class 1 girls final at 6 p.m. at VCU’s Siegel Center, and Auburn and Mathews were to follow in the Class 1 boys final. Teams in Class 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be declared state co-champions. “We felt with Governor Northam declaring a state of emergency, we felt it would be irresponsible to continue the tournament tonight. It’s in the best public interest to cancel the Class 1 boys and girls finals,» VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said in a release. “While we understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our teams, we feel this decision is in the best interest of public health, including that of, most importantly, our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, families and fans.”

🔹 The NCAA has canceled all remaining winter and spring championships. “Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the statement said.

🔹 Major League Baseball becomes the latest sport to postpone action in light of the coronavirus pandemic, canceling spring-training games effective immediately and delaying the start of the regular season for at least two weeks.

🔹 NASCAR released a statement on races in Atlanta and Homestead: “At this time, NASCAR will hold its race events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance. These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race. We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events.”

🔹 The Virginia High School Coaches Association (VHSCA) basketball game scheduled for March 21 has been postponed. VHSCA Game Director Phil Robbins released a statement saying that May 17, 2020, has been officially cleared for the game to be played at the Virginia-Wise David J. Prior Center providing the pandemic has safely subsided.

🔹 The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has canceled the remainder of the men’s basketball tournament in Nashville. Also off are the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12 tournaments. Based on the latest developments and the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the SEC today announced the suspension of regular season competition for teams in all sports on SEC campuses, as well SEC championship events, until March 30. Read more about the latest impact on sports.

🔹 UPDATE: The NAIA announced today that effective immediately, it will be canceling all remaining winter championship events, including those that are currently underway. “The health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as all involved in our championship events, is the NAIA’s highest priority. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and NAIA leadership will work closely with our member institutions to determine the best path forward for future NAIA events, including all spring 2020 championships.”

Wednesday, March 11

Local school systems monitoring situation

🔹 Although no field trips, athletic events or other school activities have been canceled or postponed as of Wednesday, the Sullivan County, Kingsport and Bristol, Tenn., public school systems are communicating daily with each other and health officials about the coronavirus.

🔹 Virginia, education officials are considering COVID-19 contingency plans. Read more about discussions at Mountain Empire Community College and in Wise County Schools here.

Local colleges announce schedule, delivery changes

🔹 The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has ordered that remaining spring semester classes be held online over concerns about the COVID-19 virus situation.

🔹 The COVID-19 Task Force at Emory & Henry College, comprised of professionals from across campus including academic affairs, student affairs, housing, athletics, the business office, facilities, dining services and marketing/communications, has been working diligently to monitor and respond to the rapidly changing global and national situation as it pertains to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. As a result of all of the available information at this time, the college has made the decision to extend spring break for students on the Emory campus for one week. It will run from Saturday, March 14, through Sunday, March 29. Follow Emory & Henry updates here.

🔹 University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd — in consultation with chancellors at UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin and the UT Health Science Center — has announced that all in-person classes will be temporarily suspended until further notice as a proactive measure in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. UT Chattanooga will suspend in-person classes until March 30, while UT Knoxville and UT Martin will suspend in-person classes until April 3. Beginning March 23, UT Health Science Center until further notice will offer all face-to-face lecture classes remotely. Clinical rotations in hospitals will continue as usual.

🔹 Memo to ETSU faculty, staff and students 3/11/20: As part of our ongoing efforts to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and to protect the health of the campus community, East Tennessee State University has made the decision to suspend all outgoing university-related domestic travel effective immediately. This suspension is in place for domestic travel through April 30, 2020. This follows the announcement from this past Monday (March 9) that all outgoing university-related international travel is suspended through June 15, 2020. At this time, university-related domestic athletics travel for competitive events is not restricted and we will continue to follow guidance as provided by the NCAA and the Southern Conference.

Lee mas

Tennessee spring sports can play on — for now

UPDATED: TSSAA state tournaments now postponed

NCAA tournaments canceled because of coronavirus

Tennessee governor declares emergency over coronavirus

SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 cancel hoops tournaments

Virginia, education officials consider COVID-19 contingency plans

NBA suspends season; March Madness going without fans

Bucs, fans disappointed about NCAA developments

BMS, NASCAR keeping close eye on coronavirus ahead of race week

Sullivan County has first confirmed case of coronavirus



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