SHELBY COUNTY, Tennessee —
There are now four confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Tennessee. To break it down further, the counties with COVID-19 patients are Shelby, Davidson, and Williamson. The case in Shelby County was confirmed over the weekend.
That patient came into contact with 100 other people. More than 70 of those people are in a 14-day quarantine between this state and Mississippi. One of the 70 is an employee at Treadwell Elementary and Middle School. That employee has not shown any signs or symptoms of the virus. The patient is in quarantine in case he or she becomes sick, the virus won't spread.
Shelby County Schools has created a task force to respond to any changes. They've cancelled all district-sponsored international trips for March and April. In the meantime, schools are expected to remain open.
"No one in the school system is at risk, students or faculty at large. There is no risk to the general public at this time," said Alisa Haushalter, Shelby County Health Department Director.
Still, that didn't stop Treadwell Elementary and Middle School parents from pulling their children out of school after learning an employee came in contact with the patient who tested positive for COVID-19.
"It's chaotic. Everybody is trying to get their kids. Everybody is trying to get their kids and they're trying to figure out what is going on, so it's hectic in there," said Louvenia Thompson, a parent.
"No, this is a serious a** virus. Don't nobody want their child to be sick and don't nobody want to take that virus to their house even though it is in school," said Tasha Lott, another parent. "I wiped my children's backpacks down when I got them out of school. I sure did. I gave them gloves. I sure did. I can't take this home even if it is at the school or it's not at the school."
In the meantime, Shelby County Health Department has assured that, as of now, there is a low risk for the area.
"It's critical that we fight fear with knowledge," said Dr. Joris Ray, Shelby County School District Superintendent.
Local 24 News also spoke with a physician at Baptist Memorial, Dr. Obaid Awan, to break down some COVID-19 facts globally.
“Patients with minor symptoms, can actually do self-quarantine at home and watch the symptoms. Sustained fever and the development of shortness of breath is one of the markers where you start to seek health care, professional help,” said Dr. Awan.
He said most of the reported cases have been among the elderly population and males.
“That bias is also not established fully yet, but it seems it’s fatal more so for the older population, those about 70 years and above 80 years that are high risk of death from COVID-19, but again it can affect any and all age populations," said Dr. Awan. “The incidents in young children below 10 years of age is almost minimal."
People with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Lastly, the virus appears more common in smokers than non smokers.
“Thus far, COVID-19 has shown to be predominantly present in males who have smoked. That side effect in society is attributed to the fact that more males smoke in China than women, about three to four times as much," said Dr. Awan. “The incidents of this virus does appear to be more common in smokers than in non-smokers, which is not surprising because smoking reduces our immune ability.”
Keep in mind, health officials are monitoring the virus and learning more each day.