Basic COVID-19 Information, advice

Per standard public health protocols for infectious disease response, Knox County Health Department epidemiologists are working with Tennessee Department of Health and following CDC guidance to contact and monitor anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

• The official name of the virus causing the outbreak is SARS-CoV-2. The name of the disease resulting from the virus is COVID-19.

• There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses, i.e., the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a new coronavirus that hasn’t previously been seen in humans.

• The virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

• The virus is spread from person-to-person. In general, respiratory viruses are usually transmitted through droplets, when an infected person coughs and/or sneezes.

• Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Fever and respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath, are some of the common symptoms. Other typical cold symptoms such as a runny nose and a sore throat are generally not associated with COVID-19.

• In most people, the illness produces mild to moderate symptoms that don’t require hospitalization. However, just like the flu, people with chronic lung conditions, compromised immune systems and the elderly are at higher risk. More information about high-risk groups can be found here.

• For the majority of people in the U.S., the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is still no evidence of widespread circulation in Knox County. Those most at risk are people who have traveled to an area with widespread community transmission or had close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19. More information is available here.

• There is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. For those diagnosed with COVID-19, supportive treatment is pursued, and medical staff treats the individual’s symptoms.

KCHD has received confirmation from TDH of the County’s second case. Per national

guidelines, case counts are determined by the county of residence. Knox County’s second

case lived overseas, traveled to another state where they received testing, and is in isolation

out of state. This case has not been in Knox County during their infectious period.

• If someone has recently traveled to an area affected by the epidemic and was exposed to COVID-19 or had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, please recommend they call our staff at 865-215-5555.

• You can take your health into your own hands! During flu and respiratory illness season, it’s always important to remember standard hygiene/infection control measures. These include:

• Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing/coughing with your elbow or a tissue

• Avoid close contact with those who are sick

• Stay home when sick

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

• Wash hands properly


• If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a health care provider's office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

• If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Basic information

• As is the case with all infectious disease, our epidemiology and emergency preparedness division utilizes extensive plans, alongside our health care partners, to respond to all potential disease threats. KCHD relies on guidance set forth by the CDC and the Tennessee Department of Health. More information is available here:

• For KCHD team members’ own awareness, you may visit the following pages:

• KCHD COVID-19 webpage:

• TDH COVID-19 webpage:

• For travel guidance, visit CDC’s website at:


• CDC’s FAQ resource: •

• CDC’s situation summary:

• World Health Organization’s situation reports page: reports/

• For individuals with questions, please forward those calls to the KCHD COVID-19 public information line at 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022. This line is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

• Tennessee Department of Health has a public information line, 877-857-2945, which is available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., EDT, seven days a week.