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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).

Source: CDC

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Fever image for COVID-19 page


Shortness of Breath for COVID-19 page

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

Wash hands for COVID-19 site

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 Crows for COVID-19 site

Avoid close contact

Stay Home for COVID-19 site

Stay home if you're sick

Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover cough for COVID-19 site

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 Facemask for COVID-19 site

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.
Disinfect for COVID-19 site

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

See all steps from the CDC here

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.

Find a local mobile assessment site in your area.

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     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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, common COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

According to the Centers for Disease Control, seek medical attention if you have:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

It is critical to share accurate information with the public about the virus. The following websites are reliable sources of information and updated frequently. Share with your loved ones and neighbors.  

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.

Additional resources:

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.