Virus

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Rutherford County climbed over 20 last week, including the first one of a student at Middle Tennessee State University.

As of Sunday, the number of confirmed cases in the county was 48, according to the state department of health website.

MTSU officials said they learned last Wednesday evening that a student living in a private bedroom in the Scarlett Commons apartment tested positive for coronavirus, the university’s first confirmed case. The student is self-isolating.

The student became symptomatic while the university was on extended spring break. The student reported to Student Health Services on Tuesday after not feeling well.

Coronavirus testing

The Tennessee Department of Health says the two county health department offices are available for testing between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Call (615) 898-7880 to verify testing availability. The addresses are: 

100 West Burton in Murfreesboro and 108 David Collins Dr. in Smyrna.

Also, Murfreesboro Medical Clinic announced it is conducting testing.

Local officials

Some governmental meetings continue to happen, while others have been cancelled. Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron and the city mayors are periodically posting video messages online. 

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland last Saturday issued an emergency declaration that closed gyms and inside dining at restaurants but allowed for options like take-out orders. The order is in effect until the mayor announces it has been lifted.

Pet shelter

PAWS of Rutherford County has waived pet adoption fees. The shelter is offering pet food to residents in need.

State

Gov. Bill Lee on March 22 signed Executive Order No. 17 prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more and dining in at restaurants and bars but allowing drive-through, pickup, carry-out or delivery. Alcohol sales are allowed in some instances. Nursing homes are off-limits to visitation, with some exceptions for end-of-life care.

For the week ending March 21, Tennesseans filed 39,096 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits, an astounding increase of 1,347 percent.

Dr. Lisa Piercey, director of the Tennessee Department of Health, said that for high priority tests like care workers, hospital patients and people in “cluster” areas, the state lab can process coronavirus test results in 24 hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing $10 million for Tennessee to spend on coronavirus testing efforts, Lee said. The new state budget provides $200 million in grants for county and city governments to fight the disease. Lee signed an executive order shutting down elective surgeries and non-emergency dental procedures.

Lee and Piercey have said more tests and personal protective equipment are being distributed around the state. Lee deployed 250 members of the Tennessee National Guard to help with testing. 

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