The war against the Coronavirus continues.
President Donald Trump foresaw at the end of last week that the nation will see many more deaths this week in comparison to past weeks.
Meanwhile, as Tennessee cases and deaths continue to rise, Governor Lee takes as much action as he sees fit to slow down/ stop the spread of the virus and get the life of Tennesseans back to normal as soon as possible.
The cases in Chester County, as of the afternoon of Tuesday, April 7, has doubled since the last issue of the Chester County Independent to seven cases.
Read the following updates to know new situations the Coronavirus has placed on you, your neighbors and the rest of the nation.
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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 23 on Thursday, April 2, requiring that Tennesseans stay home unless they are carrying out essential activities as data shows an increase in citizen movement across the state. “Over the last few weeks, we have seen decreases in movement around the state as Tennesseans socially distance and stay at home,” said Gov. Lee. “However, in recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down. I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities.”
Data from the Tennessee Department of Transportation analyzed traffic patterns for March 2020. While safer at home measures and further restrictions on businesses showed a steep drop-off in vehicle movement from March 13-29, data beginning on March 30 indicates travel is trending upwards, again. The Administration also analyzed data from Unacast to understand cell phone mobility and determine movement trends among people. Unacast indicates the movement of Tennesseans is trending toward pre-COVID-19 levels. “The month of April stands to be an extremely tough time for our state as we face the potential for a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said Lee. “Every Tennessean must take this seriously, remain at home and ensure we save lives.”The executive order remains in effect until April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
On Friday, April 3, The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today announced it will close all 56 Tennessee state parks and state-owned state natural areas to the public effective April 4 through April 14, in support of Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 23. This is a complete closure of facilities and access to all Tennessee State Parks and Designated State Natural Areas.
“We decided to close the parks in support of Governor Lee’s Executive Order 23,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “The health and safety of Tennessee citizens is all of our top priority right now.”
Tennessee State Parks officials will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.tnstateparks.com.
On Monday, April 6, 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 cases.”
The funds, capped at $500,000 per hospital, will be allocated from the state’s FY20 COVID-19 response appropriation and distributed by the Department of Finance & Administration.
For participating hospitals, the grants will serve as a bridge over the coming weeks while elective procedures are suspended and new federal funds are still processing. Applications are live today and can be accessed here: https://www.tn.gov/ecd/rural-development/small-and-rural-hospital-readiness-grant.
Due to the continually developing nature of the pandemic, the application will be held open for a month or until funds are expended.
He also announced $200 million in grants to be distributed to every county and city government across Tennessee for one-time, local expenses in fiscal year 2021.
“Capital maintenance, public safety and road projects don’t pause for disasters like the March tornadoes and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Lee. “This grant fund will ease the burden on local governments as they work to meet infrastructure and safety obligations.”
Funding is based on population as published by the US Census Bureau. Each county will receive at least $500,000, and each city or municipality will receive at least $30,000. The three Metro governments (Davidson, Moore and Trousdale) will receive one allocation, whichever is largest. The application will be made available by April 30, 2020, and the funds will be made available after July 1, 2020.
Funds may be used for road projects, I.T. upgrades, capital maintenance, utility system upgrades, and public safety projects. Certain disaster-related expenses are also eligible for funding.
One-time expenses related to COVID-19 are eligible including supply and equipment purchase, cleaning, emergency food and shelter programs. Counties impacted by the March 2020 tornadoes including Benton, Carroll, Davidson, Gibson, Putnam, Smith, and Wilson counties may also use the funds for tornado relief efforts.
Chester County will receive $633,972, and Henderson will receive $169,362.