Skip to Main Content


Situation Summary:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. More information can be found here

As we continue to learn more, our response will continue to evolve. We encourage all Tennesseans to stay vigilant in reading and sharing information from reliable sources. Up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Tennessee can be found here

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Stay up-to-date with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

On issuing Executive Order No. 14 declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19 - March 12, 2020

“While the risk to the general public remains low, we encourage all Tennesseans to exercise caution and maintain good hygiene practices as there are serious risks to our vulnerable populations. We will continue to evaluate and adapt our position accordingly to fit what we believe is best for Tennesseans.”

On guidance regarding mass gatherings, schools, state employees and the State Capitol Building - March 13, 2020

“COVID-19 is an evolving situation but we urge vulnerable populations, including those over age 60 and with chronic medical conditions to limit participation in mass gatherings and to take extra precautions for personal well-being like increased hand-washing,” said Governor Lee. “With 26 confirmed cases in our state, we have issued further guidance to help communities mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

On guidance regarding statewide school closures - March 16, 2020

“As the response to COVID-19 evolves, I urge every school district in Tennessee to close as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020 at the latest. Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020 to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31. Superintendents and local leadership have the full support of my administration to determine effective dates for closure this week as they evaluate what is best for families within their respective districts. We understand the tremendous burden school closure places on families and we will continue to work with both the federal government and school districts to ensure we continue essential supports like meals for students in need. Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”

On issuing Executive Order No. 17, Mandating Alternative Business Models for Restaurants and Gyms, Lifts Alcohol Regulations - March 22, 2020

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created both an economic and a health crisis and our response must continue to address both aspects,” said Gov. Lee. “Our goal is to keep the public, especially vulnerable populations, safe while doing everything possible to keep Tennesseans in a financially stable position.”

On establishing the COVID-19 Unified Command to to streamline coordination across the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Department of Military - March 23, 2020 

“The COVID-19 pandemic challenges every aspect of traditional government response in a crisis,” said Gov. Lee. “I have appointed the Unified Command to effectively change the way we attack COVID-19 in Tennessee as we work to simultaneously address health, economic and supply crises.”

Read more: Governor Lee's Newsroom

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand rub) for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue
  • Clean and disinfect objects (e.g., cell phone, computer) and high touch surfaces regularly

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness, including older adults and individuals who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed

More on CDC guidance for high-risk individuals

As the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact our communities, the American Red Cross needs help ensuring we have a sufficient blood supply to support hospital patients in Tennessee and across the country. The American Red Cross is working to continue delivering our mission, including the collection of lifesaving blood, but we have had a staggering number of scheduled Red Cross blood drives cancelled as more workplaces, college campuses and other venues send people home and encourage social distancing. Disruptions to blood donations can lead to shortages and cause delays in essential medical care. As of  March 15, about 1,500 blood drives, representing approximately 46,000 fewer blood donations, have been canceled in the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns.


  • Donating blood is a safe process and people should not be concerned about giving or receiving blood during this challenging time
  • More healthy donors are needed to give now to prevent a blood shortage
  • Keep scheduled blood drives, which will allow donors the opportunity to give blood

Find a location in your community:

  • Public Information Line: 1-877-857-2945
  • Hamilton County: 423-209-8383
  • Knox County: 865-215-5555
  • Shelby County: 901-692-7523
  • COVID-19 Bulletin #12 - April 3, 2020

    Friday, April 03, 2020 | 05:20pm

    Today, Gov. Lee and members of the Unified Command group traveled to Knoxville and Chattanooga to meet with local leaders and discuss surge planning efforts in these areas.

    Read full story
  • COVID-19 Bulletin #11 - April 2, 2020

    Thursday, April 02, 2020 | 04:45pm

    Today, Governor Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts regarding COVID-19 relief. Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live each day this week at 3 p.m. CDT here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

    Read full story
  • COVID-19 Bulletin #10 - April 1, 2020

    Wednesday, April 01, 2020 | 06:30pm

    Today, Governor Bill Lee provided an update on Tennessee’s efforts regarding COVID-19 relief. Gov. Lee’s daily press conferences can be viewed live each day this week at 3 p.m. CDT here. Gov. Lee has also established a website specific to COVID-19 updates which can be found here.

    Read full story