Since before the first confirmed case in Tennessee, Governor Lee and the state’s Department of Health have taken urgent action to protect the health and safety of every Tennessean.
As we continue to learn more about this pandemic, our response continues to evolve. We encourage every Tennesseans to stay vigilant in reading and sharing up-to-date information from reliable sources.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on previous MERS-CoV virus incubation periods).
Shortness of Breath
Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with widespread/ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
What You Can Do to Prevent Illness
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
Take Steps to Protect Yourself and Others
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover coughs and sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a facemask
- You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask , then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- Complete disinfection guidance can be found here
What to do if you are Sick
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.
Gov. Lee has implemented a number of support services to help hardworking Tennesseans care for their families during this difficult time.
Frequently Asked Questions
COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Yes, COVID-19 is a dangerous disease. While many people have shown little to no symptoms when infected, others have developed serious complications and died. The disease is particularly dangerous for older adults, people with compromised immune systems, or those with underlying health issues like diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease.
The best way to avoid getting sick from COVID-19 is to avoid exposure to the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the best practices for avoiding COVID-19 infections are to:
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth when around others.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect regularly.
Gov. Lee has directed the Unified-Command group to rapidly expand Tennessee’s COVID-19 testing capacity and enable more Tennesseans to have improved access. This increased testing capacity will empower citizens to make informed health decisions, and allow us to get Tennesseans back to work quickly and safely.
Our clinical understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly and we need every Tennessean who isn’t feeling well, even outside of the traditional COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty breathing, to come out and get tested.
The full list of testing sites is available here.
Questions about COVID-19? Visit our FAQ page or send a message to Governor Lee's Constituent Services team.
NOTE: Please refrain from sending personal health records or other protected medical information to the Governor’s Office. Concerns or questions regarding the federal government or federal matters are best referred to the appropriate federal officeholder. Additionally, please note that the Governor's Office cannot assist constituents with legal matters or intervene on their behalf in judicial or law enforcement matters.