Gov. Lee announces $10 million in hospital readiness grants

Posted on April 8, 2020 8:08 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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Grants to ease financial burden during COVID-19 fight

(April 6, 2020)Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the State of Tennessee will allocate $10 million in Small and Rural Hospital Readiness Grants to support hospitals that are facing financial strain due to the ongoing response to COVID-19.

“Small and rural hospitals are critical to fighting COVID-19 and these grants will help complement federal aid dollars to ensure hospitals can continue delivering care through this crisis,” said Gov. Lee. “These organizations not only provide care for existing needs but are also a key part of our efforts to build and maintain bed capacity during the expected surge of COVID-19


COVID-19 bulletin # 14 (04.07.20)

Posted on April 8, 2020 8:08 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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(Tuesday, April 07, 2020 | 05:00pm)

On April 7, Gov. Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts regarding COVID-19 relief.

Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live this week Monday through Thursday at 3 p.m. CDT here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

Administration Actions

Unemployment Relief/Unemployment for Self-Employed

COVID-19 has caused record spikes in unemployment with the number of initial claims spiking to more than 250,000 in the last three-week period.

In March, at the onset of the pandemic, Gov. Lee directed the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to conduct the


Blood Assurance will be providing convalescent plasma to critically ill COVID-19 patients

Posted on April 6, 2020 2:02 pm by Kim Swindell Wood

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(April 6, 2020) – Community non-profit blood center, Blood Assurance will be collecting plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 donors to be used as an investigational treatment for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 convalescent plasma is an FDA investigational treatment where plasma is transfused from a recovered COVID-19 donor into a critically ill patient. Plasma from recovered individuals contains antibodies that attack the virus. Blood Assurance will be collecting, processing and sending the donated plasma to hospitals where it will be given to patients. “We are very excited to begin collecting this product as a potentially life-saving treatment for those who are critically ill due to COVID-19,” said Dr. … CONTINUED

City board addresses storm damage and COVID-19 procedures

Posted on April 6, 2020 1:01 pm by Kim Swindell Wood

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By Rachel Auberger

In what was an unusual meeting of Sparta Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which had board members in the meeting room and department heads and visitors in the city hall lobby watching via Skype, some of the recent tragedies that are affecting the city were discussed.

Mayor Jeff Young explained the unique setting was to abide by the CDC guidelines for social distancing, keeping the number of people in one space to a minimum while maintaining six feet between individuals.

In addition to the board adopting new meeting policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19, several departments within the city are also seeing changes.


COVID-19: How families are surviving the pandemic

Posted on March 31, 2020 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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Emmett Bane is learning how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – and sushi rolls.

By Rachel Auberger

At 2:55 p.m., on March 17, all White County students left school for an extended spring break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, while the initial thoughts were those of fear and confusion by parents and excitement by children, the new reality has brought about something amazing.

While “social distancing” is the key phrase right now and shopping carts and door handles are being cleaned like never before, while hand sanitizer and toilet paper have become prime commodities, while store shelves empty as fast as they are filled, while … CONTINUED

UT Extension identifies resources for direct farm marketers during COVID-19 outbreak

Posted on March 30, 2020 11:11 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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CSAs, agritourism operators, others changing their business models

Like other businesses and families, Tennessee’s direct farm marketers, value-added agriculture entrepreneurs and agritourism operators are facing new and imposing challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and by local, state and national efforts to flatten the curve of infections. Navigating the situation is a daunting task, so the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has developed a website to support farmers who are making critical decisions and business adjustments.

The free resource list is available at The site provides links to resources made available by UT Extension and other universities, government agencies and producer organizations from across the … CONTINUED

Legal Aid Society to offer free legal advice by telephone in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on March 30, 2020 11:11 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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 Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm, announced March 30 that it will be offering free legal advice over the phone in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a challenging time for many in Middle Tennessee who are facing unexpected changes to their lives, such as the sudden loss of a job or overwhelming debts,” said DarKenya W. Waller, executive director of Legal Aid Society. “In addition to our regular legal services, which have continued uninterrupted through this period, we are providing a convenient new way for residents to get free, qualified legal advice without having to leave their … CONTINUED

Red Cross seeking younger volunteers during COVID-19 crisis to protect 55-plus age group who comprise 64 percent of volunteers

Posted on March 28, 2020 8:08 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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(March 27, 2020) – The American Red Cross is a 90 percent volunteer organization. This volunteer workforce mentality has always been the building blocks of the mission for the Red Cross, and won’t change during the time of COVID-19 virus.

Hundreds of disaster services are provided annually to clients by Red Cross volunteers. More than 64 percent of the volunteer workforce for the American Red Cross of Tennessee is over the age of 55. With the concerns about the health and well-being of senior citizens during the pandemic, there is an added push to encourage healthy 18 to 40-year-old volunteers to step up and get involved in Disaster … CONTINUED

Tennessee Tech ITS gearing up for telecommuting, online instruction

Posted on March 27, 2020 2:02 pm by Kim Swindell Wood

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Tennessee Tech’s Information Technology Services handed out more than 180 laptop computers to faculty and staff on Wednesday to help with the campus going to online classes on Monday and assist with those who will be working from home. Derek Wynne (left) and Landon Stoner (right) of ITS, help Tenika Burgess, a College of Education advisor for student success center, get acclimated with her laptop.

With classes at Tennessee Tech set to go online Monday and most of the faculty and staff telecommuting from home because of COVID-19, Tech’s Information Technology Services (ITS) has been busy preparing for these new challenges.

“ITS has worked with all departments on … CONTINUED

MTNG will temporarily suspend turn-offs for non-payment and late fees on natural gas bills

Posted on March 27, 2020 1:01 pm by Kim Swindell Wood

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(March 27, 2020) – Middle Tennessee Natural Gas Utility District (MTNG) remains committed to providing highly responsive service to our customers and communities in twenty-two Tennessee counties. We understand the COVID-19 emergency could have long range economic impact on everyone.  As such, MTNG has voluntarily issued a temporary suspension of ALL disconnections for non-payment of natural gas bills and has also temporarily suspended the assessment of late fees on natural gas bills not paid by the “due date.”  If your job or business has been impacted by this pandemic, your MTNG natural gas bill is one less thing you need to worry about right now.   Simply contact your … CONTINUED

TN experiences unprecedented increase in unemployment

Posted on March 26, 2020 11:11 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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Tennessee and the nation experience spike in unemployment claims due to COVID-19

The state of Tennessee experienced an unprecedented spike in new initial unemployment claims according to data released this morning by the United States Department of Labor.

For the week ending March 21, 2020, Tennesseans filed 39,096 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits. The week prior, the state received 2,702 new unemployment claims. The latest figure represents a nearly 20 fold increase in week-to-week claims.

Nationwide, Americans filed 3,283,000 new unemployment claims, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised national level.

Week ending March 21, 2020, at a glance:

New: 39,096

Last week: 2,702

Difference: … CONTINUED

Ben Lomand Connect installs Wi-Fi hotspot at Sparta Office to aid during COVID-19 crisis

Posted on March 26, 2020 9:09 am by Kim Swindell Wood

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Ben Lomand Connect is announcing that it has installed a free public WiFi hotspot at its Sparta Office location at 502 Ben Lomand Drive to help White county residents stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Internet connectivity is an important resource for White Countians during this crisis, which is keeping us physically distanced from one another,” said David Vaughn, district office manager. “As we’re asking many to work and learn remotely, these public WiFi points are especially critical to keeping workers and students connected if they do not have access at home.”

The location services the parking lot of the Ben Lomand Connect Sparta office, where users can … CONTINUED

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