Health officials say we aren’t social distancing enough as cases rise


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Hamilton County Health Department reports two more COVID-19 positive tests and one more death.

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This brings the totals to 39 positive cases and two local deaths.

Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes scolded the community on our social distancing efforts.

“People are not social distancing enough.”

They have gotten reports about street parties and employers who are not providing social distancing at work.

She stresses that in only 10 of the 39 cases can they pinpoint who gave it to them.

“Every case we get should be a warning that the virus is out there.”

Barnes had 3 steps on how we could improve our shopping runs:

— Make fewer trips, plan better and pick more stuff up.

— Don’t socialize in the store, call people later if you run into someone you know.

— Only send one healthy adult, don’t take the family, leave the kids at home.

And also more helpful tips when you are in the store.

— wipe down handlebars with santizer

— use credit and debit cards instead of cash

— don’t touch your face after handling products

The cases range in age from 25-87, the mean age is 58.

Barnes says 40% of the positive cases so far were hospitalized right away.

And some who were not initially, were sent to the hospital later after developing symptoms.

She says they are not seeing any clusters in our area right now, including in nursing homes.

Health officials did not announce any new community testing programs today, but they say they are getting closer.

They did perform 75 more tests over the weekend and say they’re getting more help with supplies.


CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Mayors of Chattanooga and Hamilton County have formed a  COVID-19 Joint Task Force.

It is made up of local health professionals who will advise them on steps to take converning the virus.

The task force will be led by Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society CEO Rae Young Bond.

“In the midst of an unprecedented pandemic like this one, it’s never been more important that we listen to experts. Mayor Coppinger and I feel the best way to continue to make our community as safe and healthy as possible is to bring everyone together,” Mayor Berke said. “Our goal is to give our community timely, informed updates about our vulnerable populations, how our medical facilities are preparing, and other information related to the spread of the virus in our area.”

The first meeting will be held tomorrow.


Dr. Kelly Arnold – Founder & Clinical Director, Clinica Medicos

Becky Barnes – Hamilton County Health Department Administrator

Dr. Matt Gibson – President & CEO, Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation

Dr. Timothy Grant – Chief Medical Officer, Parkridge Health System

Dr. Martina Suttles Harris – Assistant Dean of Nursing & Allied Health at Chattanooga State Community College

Dr. Gregory Heath – Guerry Professor of Public Health, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Dr. Keith Helton – CEO, One to One Health

Dr. William Jackson – President & CEO, Erlanger Health System

Dr. Robert Magill – Chief of Staff, Parkridge Health System

Angel Moore Esq. – Vice President of Population Health & CEO, Erlanger Community Health Center

Tom Ozburn – President & CEO, Parkridge Health System

Janelle Reilly – CEO, CHI Memorial Hospital

Dr. Colleen Schmitt – President, Galen Medical Group

Dr. James Sizemore – Chief of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, UTCOM Chattanooga and Medical Director, Infection Prevention, Erlanger Health System

Dr. Christopher Young -Vice Chief of Staff, Erlanger Health System