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Local COVID-19 test comes back negative; Tennessee reports first case

Staff and wire reports • Mar 5, 2020 at 3:29 PM

After reporting Wednesday that the system was waiting for a COVID-19 test result for a patient in the area, Ballad Health announced Thursday the results had come back negative for the illness.

In a media advisory, Ballad said there have been no positive COVID-19 cases identified in Ballad Health facilities.

The news came the same day that the Tennessee Department of Health announced the state’s first case of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, in the state. The patient is an adult man from Williamson County who had recently traveled out of the state. The department said Thursday the patient has a mild illness and is isolated at home.

The State Public Health Laboratory tested the individual and has submitted results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation.

“We are working closely with local health care partners to identify contacts and contain spread of this disease in our communities,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a news release. “We’ve been anticipating identification of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee. At this time, the overall risk to the general public remains low. We are continuing to work with the CDC and other agencies to provide guidance to Tennesseans to protect their health.”

The patient traveled on a non-stop, round-trip flight between Boston and the Nashville International Airport and was asymptomatic while traveling. The department of health said it’s in close contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Dough Kreulen, CEO fo the Nashville International Airport, about the case. The state said it will announce testing results of the household contacts of the COVID-19 patient as well as any additional positive test results.

The department said most patients with a confirmed COVID-19 infection have a mild respiratory illness with fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

“COVID-19 is not currently widespread in the United States, so no additional precautions are recommended for the general public to take beyond normal practices to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses,” the department of health said in a news release.

Those include: Washing your hands often with soap and water, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and staying home if you are sick.

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