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Roundup: Knox County's First COVID Death; Knoxville Asks for Spare PPE

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Knox County records first COVID-19 death

Knox County health officials confirmed the first COVID-19 death in the county happened over the weekend. The person was in a group considered high-risk for coronavirus complications, health department director Martha Buchanan said. The person had been hospitalized. Buchanan declined to provide additional information on the patient, citing sensitivity to the family.

Sixty-three people in Knox County have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to figures released late Tuesday morning. 24 people have recovered.

Thirteen Tennesseans have died from COVID-19, the state health department reported Monday.

Knoxville asks for PPE donations

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has asked people, businesses and organizations that have spare professional-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) in storage to donate it to first responders. The equipment includes N95 respirators, surgical masks, non-latex gloves, hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes.

A statement from Kincannon’s office says first responders have adequate supplies at the moment, but city emergency departments are getting ready for an expected climb in COVID cases. The city is also asking for donations of commercial-grade medical supplies, such as gowns, face shields, goggles, thermometers and Tyvek suits.

City employees and volunteers will collect the PPE at the Jacobs Building at Chilhowee Park on Friday, April 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Saturday, April 4, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Additional collection times are scheduled for the rest of April, and can be found online.

Nashville metro still has biggest caseload

98 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been logged in Davidson County, bringing the county’s total to 541 as of Tuesday morning. The news was disclosed by city officials in a daily briefing.

Combined with Monday’s totals as reported by the Tennessee Department of Health, the 13-county Nashville metro area has 972 of the state’s 1,834 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

WPLN News reports Vanderbilt University Medical Center put out a call this week for temporary nurses to help cover for medical personnel that have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or who may have it. Eighty-six VUMC staff tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. Some are past the mandatory quarantine period. The hospital said 49 staffers are currently self-isolating.

OR closes city playgrounds

Oak Ridge officials have closed city-owned playgrounds to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The city says greenways and public parks remain open for the time being, but noted other facilities are under review for possible closure.

Knox County playgrounds closed at the end of the day Monday.