Covid-19 News To Know

Here is information on Covid-19 you need to know, updated daily.

COVID-19 INFORMATION


ETSU pharmacy school produces hand sanitizer to combat shortages, COVID-19 spread

JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy is producing hand sanitizer to help ETSU Health clinics and first responders curb shortages and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With the local need identified, Dr. Charles Collins, professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, immediately went to work in the pharmacy school’s compounding lab producing the hand sanitizer.

“During this stressful time, there are numerous instances in providing quality health care when soap and water are not readily or conveniently available,” said Collins. “This hand sanitizer will allow our health care providers and first responders to quickly clean their hands between patients so they do not spread any infection.”

If interested, first responders can contact Collins at collincc@etsu.edu to inquire about receiving free sanitizer.

Learn more at www.etsu.edu/pharmacy.


Safer at Home Health Order issued for Sullivan County, local
emergency declared for City of Bristol

Officials from the Sullivan County Regional Health Department have issued a Safer at Home Health Order for the citizens of Sullivan County effective beginning at 12:01 AM EDT on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 that will remain in effect until further notice. The order was signed by Health Officer Dr. Stephen May in order to mitigate the regional impact of COVID-19, reduce the strain on healthcare resources and ultimately save lives. This order urges citizens to shelter at home as much as possible except when engaging in essential activities. These include:
 Trips to the grocery store or pharmacy
 Medical appointments
 Visiting restaurants for take-out or drive-thru service
 Caring for friends and family members in need
 Enjoying outdoor recreation.
CDC guidance on proper hand hygiene and social distancing, such as maintaining a distance of
six feet between people, should continue to be followed at all times.
The order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people and orders the closure of businesses not performing essential services as determined by health department officials. Directives are provided for certain essential businesses that remain in operation, and the order does not apply to
activities supporting the critical infrastructure sectors described at
https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19.
In conjunction with the Safer at Home Health Order, Bristol, Tennessee Mayor Margaret Feierabend and City Manager Bill Sorah also issued an Executive Order proclaiming a local and civil emergency within the City of Bristol, Tennessee. Following declarations by President Donald Trump and Governor Bill Lee that proclaimed emergencies related to the COVID-19

City of Bristol Tennessee

For the full text of these orders, as well as additional information about the City of Bristol’s
response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.bristoltn.org/covid19.


Tri-Cities doctors relieve ER, hospital pressure fighting COVID

 

In response to COVID-19, Appalachian Orthopedics of Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport will remain open to area residents in need of care while following local and national health authority guidelines.

As the current crisis puts unprecedented pressure on our health system, community orthopedic experts at Appalachian Orthopedics will continue seeing patients in their clinic and urgent care to help reduce traffic in ERs and hospitals for bone, joint and muscle concerns.

If you’re interested in speaking with a member of the practice to learn more about their commitment to our community during COVID-19, please contact me directly so I can coordinate an interview that accommodates your time and your safety.

Mackenzie Groff

mackenzie@venel.com | (402) 983-7257

Appalachian Orthopedics


ETSU Health to transition drive-through COVID-19 testing site to Health Department

Decision comes as local health department opens testing sites in Washington and surrounding counties

JOHNSON CITY – 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, 2020. While the drive-through site will no longer be open, ETSU Health will continue to administer COVID-19 testing in its clinics.

“The local health department has just opened their drive-through testing sites in Washington County and the surrounding counties,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. “These new sites are open to the public and, along with Ballad Health testing sites, are large enough to handle the demand for testing in our region at this time. These sites will test patients with symptoms of COVID-19 just as ETSU has done. We do not want to duplicate the same services they will be offering at these new sites.”

Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough, and shortness of breath can contact the Health Department at 423-979-4689 for screening and further information on testing sites.



Have you recently been displaced from work? Several local employers are now hiring!

Biopure Service

CHILDRESS Commercial Property Maintenance

CVS Pharmacy

Food City

Kroger

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Walmart Neighborhood Market Kingsport – Lynn Garden Dr

Are you hiring at your business? Contact Nora Davis at ndavis@kingsportchamber.org to be included on this list.

Resources

Your Kingsport Chamber’s Facebook page.


Building Department Open for Business via Online or Phone

 

KINGSPORT, TN – 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 of our 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.  Also – please note that 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: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/planning-commission/

Building Department related applications: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/building/building-permit-application/

Contact Information:

Building Division: (423) 229-9393

Planning & Zoning: (423) 229-9485

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.



City Department Responses to COVID-19

Please read through to learn what steps police, fire, public works and customer service are taking to keep the public and employees safe

 

KINGSPORT, TN – Essential services to the citizens of Kingsport are being altered to take precautions with the current COVID-19 pandemic. The departments that deal primarily with the public have taken steps, expected to be in place for the next 6-8 weeks, to protect both employees and residents.

Kingsport Police Department

In light of current events, citizens should rest assured that the Kingsport Police Department is still responding to emergencies and other citizen calls for service and will continue to do so. With that in mind, for the time being, citizens may notice some minor changes in police interactions. For example:

  • Whenever possible, routine reports, especially those non-criminal in nature, may be handled over the telephone.
  • Whenever possible, officers may avoid entering homes, and instead communicate with citizens outside, unless it is absolutely necessary to enter the residence.
  • Whenever possible, officers will try to observe the recommended 6-foot distance from citizens and avoid shaking hands.
  • The Kingsport Justice Center will remain open; however, citizens are respectfully requested to not come to the Justice Center unless absolutely necessary. If your need can be handled via telephone, please call.
  • If you absolutely need to come to the Justice Center, please consider remaining in your vehicle, calling upon arrival, and allowing an officer to come out to you.

We currently are and will continue to follow CDC recommended guidelines, particularly those involving hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), and social-distancing. Some internal precautions that have already been put into place include:

  • All non-essential training and travel has been suspended.
  • Disposable equipment is being utilized as much as possible.
  • Disinfecting stations have been created for proper cleaning of persons, vehicles, and other equipment.
  • Community relations programs such as citizen ride-alongs and Justice Center tours have been suspended.

To reiterate, none of these changes will affect the Kingsport Police Department’s ability to respond to emergencies or other citizen calls for service.

For questions regarding K.P.D., please reach out to Tom Patton at 423-229-9433.

Kingsport Fire Department

The K.F.D. is making every effort to limit the exposure to employees.

  • All business travel has been suspended; supervisors will question employees on travel plans from now until the end of June; recommend self-quarantine if employee shows any signs or symptoms
  • All public education programs have been suspended
  • Routine fire inspections, unless vital, have been suspended
  • Recruitment school has been suspended
  • Only in-house and online training permissible
  • All stations have secured main entrances – no guests beyond the foyer and bay doors to remain closed at all times
  • All employees must enter through main entrance each shift and complete the health questionnaire and have their temperature taken

For questions regarding K.F.D., please reach out to Barry Brickey at 423-224-2820.

Kingsport Public Works

The Kingsport Public Works Department is essential to providing basic services to the citizens of Kingsport on a daily basis. The city is committed to the health and safety of all citizens and customers so all essential services will continue to operate throughout this event.

Understanding that access to clean water is key to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, Kingsport will keep water on for all customers despite unpaid utility bills during this event. 

Within Public Works Operations, the primary focus at the present time is to prevent the spread of the virus among our employees. The steps that have been taken include:

  • Suspended all large group meetings
  • Limited group gathering to the crew level size
  • Offset shift schedules in larger divisions by increments of 30 minutes
  • Assignment of work tasks remotely via the Cartegraph system
  • Increased disinfectant of surfaces at division locations
  • Increased signage encouraging preventative measures (social distancing, hand washing, coughing/sneezing etiquette)

The following actions have been taken to limit public interaction:

  • Suspension of the Historic Zoning Commission and Gateway Commission
  • Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals have moved to the Civic Auditorium to provide adequate social distancing standards
  • Earlier in the year, to secure the building and provide limited access to the building division, planning division and GIS was completed

Emergency preparation is underway to ensure critical staffing levels are maintained within the water, wastewater and sanitation divisions.

For questions regarding public works, please reach out to Ryan McReynolds at 423-229-9471.

Kingsport Customer Service

Kingsport Customer Service is essential to city operations. Several steps are being taken to protect employees and customers.

  • Effective March 16, all late payments and all penalties are suspended to minimize the public traffic at city hall. While service will not be terminated during the extended period, customers will still be billed for water and wastewater services and past-due balances will continue to accrue if payment is not made.
  • When operations return to normal, customers will be asked to sign a payment agreement for any unpaid water/utility bills. An extension from 6 months to 12 months for the agreement timeframe has been put in place.
  • For customers needing new service, customer service will try to work with the customer to get the needed documentation through email and text.
  • As of March 18, a plexiglass barrier was installed to separate employees from customers to reduce spread of germs.
  • Enhanced cleaning routines have been established throughout the customer service department.

Customers have several options available to pay their utility bills:

  • Pay in person at the Justice Center
  • Pay online at the city website gov
  • Pay over the phone by calling (423) 343-9860
  • Drop box located outside city hall
  • Mail to PO Box 880, Kingsport, TN 37662 or 225 W Center Street, Kingsport, TN 37660

For questions regarding customer service, please reach out to Lisa Winkle at 423-229-9335.

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response


Building Department Open for Business via Online or Phone

 

KINGSPORT, TN – 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 of our 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.  Also – please note that 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: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/planning-commission/

Building Department related applications: https://www.kingsporttn.gov/city-services/building/building-permit-application/

 

Contact Information:

Building Division: (423) 229-9393

Planning & Zoning: (423) 229-9485

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov.


Bristol, TN Parks & Rec offering online exercise videos and social media activities while encouraging use of city parks

 

A series of exercise videos and social media activities designed to keep community members active during the coronavirus outbreak have been introduced by officials from the Bristol, Tennessee Department of Parks and Recreation, along with a reminder that more than 30 scenic city parks remain open to the public.

And while Slater Community Center and the Steele Creek Nature Center are currently closed, all City parks remain open to the public, said Parks & Recreation Director Terry Napier.  Gate fees at Steele Creek Park are currently being waived, allowing the public to enter for free, 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, he said.

A full list of City parks and the amenities featured at each is available at www.bristoltn.org/parks.

For those with a creative streak, the department recently announced an Easter Egg Art Contest for community members of all ages. To enter, create an egg using the materials and medium of your choice, take a digital photo, and attach the photo to the entry form. Winners in a variety of categories will be awarded prizes bearing the city’s brand logo. Additional details are available at www.bristoltn.org/eggcontest. 

Facebook users are invited to share an uplifting message in sidewalk chalk this weekend through the Chalk the Walk event. You may find details on the City’s website at https://www.facebook.com/CityBristolTN A Quarantine-o-ween event will be announced Sunday on the City’s Facebook page.

For additional information about these and other programs offered by the Department of Parks and Recreation, please call (423) 764-4023.


Postponed: Registration for Summer Program

Kingsport, TN – The Kingsport Parks and Recreation Department is postponing registration for their 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, please contact Renee Ensor at 423-224-2489.

For more information, please visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org.


City Playgrounds Closing per Safer at Home Order

 

KINGSPORT, TN – Per the Executive Order from Governor Lee and at the decision of the City of Kingsport officials, playgrounds within the city will begin closing tomorrow, 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, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov/covid-19-response.