Nashville Mayor John Cooper said at a press conference Tuesday that he and other city officials will introduce their own plan to reopen the city’s economy after it closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cooper said he will likely introduce his plan on Thursday and that it will not follow the one Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced for the state Monday. As reported, Lee is scheduled to end his statewide stay-at-home order on April 30.
Cooper said his plan for restarting Nashville’s economy uses what he called a data-driven approach with four phases. The first phase likely begins in early May, he said.
“[Lee’s plan] excludes the state’s major metro areas, including Nashville and Davidson County, and applies to 89 of our 95 counties,” Cooper said.“But many features of our reopening process make us different — size and population density, infection level, number of businesses that operate here, transportation, commuter patterns, and our global tourism industry.”
To reopen, Cooper said Nashville will have to meet the following requirements:
• A rate of transmission of less than one, meaning each individual does not infect more than one other person in Davidson County
• A 14-day downward trend in new cases of COVID-19
• Adequate testing and Personal Protective Equipment capacity for the region
• A robust health infrastructure to conduct contact tracing investigations throughout the community
Alex Jahangir, who chairs Davidson County’s Metro Coronavirus Task Force, said that as of Tuesday Davidson County had 1,936 confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of 33 in the previous 24 hours.
“There are an additional 1,749 cases in the surrounding counties, bringing our total to 3,685 in the region,” he said.“Unfortunately, yesterday we had two more individuals die because of this disease, a 68-year-old female and an 85-year-old male. Both had underlying medical conditions. That brings the total death number in Nashville to 22.”
Meanwhile, Leslie Waller, an epidemiologist with the Metro Nashville Public Health Department, said at Tuesday’s press conference that in recent weeks most of the new cases in Nashville have shifted geographically.
“Most of our new cases are now clustered in the southeastern part of the county,” she said. “Communities that call it home are numerous and diverse, and they work in a number of essential service jobs.”
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