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Lee OKs use of National Guard in hospitals amid virus surge

Lee OKs use of National Guard in hospitals amid virus surge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has authorized medically trained National Guard members to fill nursing roles, drive ambulances and perform coronavirus testing for overstretched hospitals. The Republican’s executive order Friday allows the adjutant general to send hospitals reinforcements from the Tennessee National Guard. The state is focusing on members who are actively assigned, including those who are serving in coronavirus testing roles statewide. State health officials declined to identify which hospitals have expressed interest. But health officials said there’s need statewide. The state reports 2,485 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Tennessee, with 14% of floor beds and 8% of ICU beds still available.

By JONATHAN MATTISE
Associated Press

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People react to U.S. House passing legislation decriminalizing pot

People react to U.S. House passing legislation decriminalizing pot

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The U.S. House of Representatives took a major step regarding marijuana on Friday.

They passed legislation that decriminalizes pot at the federal level and removes it from the federal controlled substances list.

Tennessee Republican Congressman Chuck Fleischmann voted against what’s known as the MORE act.

“I have always stated that I believe the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana is a state issue that the federal government should not involve itself in,” he said in a statement. “At a time when so many American small businesses are hurting, I am disappointed that House Democrats chose to bring a partisan marijuana bill to the floor instead of letting us vote on legislation to give small businesses access to the over $130B in unspent funds that remain in the Paycheck Protection Program.”

Not everyone is against the legislation, Grass Roots Health Area Manager Christine Glacken said that the House passing the MORE act is exciting.

“Working in CBD and the hemp industry in Tennessee and Georgia, I see legal cannabis helping people everyday, helping with physical pain, with their mental pain, and I know that THC cannabis or marijuana helps people in different ways and I’m excited to see more people receive help from cannabis,” she said.

The bill goes to the Senate.

Glacken said she’s not sure it will pass the Senate.

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Breaking down Nursing Home Covid-19 cases in our area

Breaking down Nursing Home Covid-19 cases in our area

NASHVILLE (WDEF) – People in Cleveland have been concerned about the outbreak at Life Care Center in Cleveland this week.

But we found plenty more nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our areas that are also struggling with news Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, we broke down the numbers for facilities in northwest Georgia.

Now we look at the state of Tennessee’s records for our area.

Tennessee does not report the number of active cases like Georgia does.

But we found a dozen facilities in our area with positive cases in the last week.

The most cases are at Standifer Place in Chattanooga with 194 combined cases of residents and staff. (Again, we don’t know how many are active.  But their most recent case is 3 days ago).

All of the cases on the following list are over the last 28 days:

STANDIFER PLACE (Chattanooga)

120 residents & 74 staff have tested positive.  5 have died. Most recent case was Tuesday.

NHC HEALTHCARE CHATTANOOGA

116 residents & 60 staff. Most recent case Tuesday

LIFE CARE CENTER OF CLEVELAND

52 residents & 28 staff.  Most recent case Wednesday

NHC HEALTHCARE ATHENS

41 residents & 34 staff, 6 deaths. Most recent case Tuesday

MARTIN-BOYD CHRISTIAN HOME (Chattanooga)

36 residents and 5 staff, 1 death. Most recent case Monday

BRADLEY HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION (Cleveland)

29 residents and 30 staff.  Most recent case Tuesday

LIFE CARE CENTER OF COLLEGEDALE

18 residents & 29 staff. 2 deaths. Most recent case Monday

ALEXIAN BROTHERS VALLEY RESIDENCE (Chattanooga)

15 residents & 9 staff. Most recent case Wednesday

WOODLAND TERRACE CARE AND REHAB (Chattanooga)

6 staff. Most recent case Monday

LIFE CARE CENTER OF RHEA COUNTY (Dayton)

1 resident and 3 staff. Most recent case Tuesday

LIFE CARE CENTER OF ATHENS

1 resident and 1 staff. Most recent case Tuesday

ATHENS PLACE

Had their first resident test positive on Sunday

__________

Over the last 28 days, we have had 925 residents test positive at facilities from Monteagle to Etowah.  73 of them have died.

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Collaboration between aquariums helps save endangered fish

Collaboration between aquariums helps save endangered fish

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – Aquariums in Chicago, Connecticut and Iowa are helping Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium save an endangered minnow. Two years ago, the aquarium reached out to other institutions with the goal of breeding a large, genetically diverse population of barrens top minnows to reintroduce to the wild. Three signed up: Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, and National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa. The first of the minnows bred through that collaboration were recently released into Tennessee streams. Maritime Aquarium Aquarist Bert Sadler says of the collaboration, “We should do all we can to help any species that needs assistance.”

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Bradley County makes arrest in rash of auto burglaries

Bradley County makes arrest in rash of auto burglaries

CLEVELAND, Tennessee (WDEF) – The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office has charged a suspect in a rash of auto burglaries in November.
Tyler Hanks faces a total of 23 charges.
Investigators have linked him to 15 cases at the end of the month.
The first were multiple burglaries on Saturday, November 21 in the southeast part of the county.
Then there were more burglaries the next day in southwest Bradley County.
Collegedale Police also had several cases near the Bradley line.
Investigators identified Hanks as their suspect on Thursday and captured him later in the day.
They say they found him with stolen items linking him to the burglaries.
Hanks was on probation in Hamilton County and faces another 20 charges in Collegedale.
“When the burglaries in the Trewhitt Road, Hunt Road and Keith Valley road areas were reported, our patrol deputies and detectives immediately went into action,” says Sheriff Lawson.
“Each scene was worked to gather as much physical evidence as possible in order to identify the perpetrator. Our officers, investigators and forensics unit worked tirelessly to bring these cases to a successful conclusion. I greatly appreciate each of them and their efforts in solving crime within our county. I also would like to extend my appreciation to the citizens of Bradley County who reported these crimes, as well as the officers from
Collegedale Police Department who collaborated with us on these cases.”

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COVID-19 week in review

COVID-19 week in review

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- In the last two weeks, we have seen a significant increase in COVID-19 numbers.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke says, “Coronavirus is running rampant in our community and much of the United States at my last press briefing we’ve had 3,332 new infections, 3,332 new infection and 30 deaths. This is overwhelming to say and extremely concerning to me and it should be to our entire community.”

Today, the Hamilton County Health department announced that they will adopt the latest CDC guidance that allows for a reduced quarantine period for people who have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person. The health department says that the Quarantine period can end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or after, and if no symptoms occur during daily monitoring.

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

December 4, 2020 – Health Department Updates Quarantine Period for Close Contacts pic.twitter.com/ylm30gGJnX

— HamiltonHealth (@HamiltonHealth) December 4, 2020

In the coming weeks, two coronavirus vaccines will go before the FDA for emergency use authorization review.

Dr. James Sizemore with Erlanger Health says, “There should be widespread availability for the vaccine during the first half of 2021. So, I mean there is an end to this.”

Dr. James Sizemore adds that masks will still be necessary, “I anticipate that we will be masking for a while, even with the introduction of the vaccine. The vaccine is not going to be a mask substitute. It’s going to help things out, but I don’t see masking changing in the short term.”

Pandemic fatigue is also at an all time high.

But Erlanger Health officials are optimistic about the future.

“There’s all sorts of strategies, I do think that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But, I think that really right now what is hurting us the most is the fatigue of having to change our life now for nine months and it’s just very hard to sustain that,” adds Dr. Sizemore.

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Weather Update: Saturday’s Forecast – December 5th, 2020

Weather Update: Saturday’s Forecast – December 5th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF):  Cold Start to the Weekend, but Mainly Dry & Sunny!

Friday night, expect a few isolated drizzles that will dry out by the night. It will be breezy and cool with temperatures dropping to the low 30’s by Saturday morning. Saturday will be a stark difference from Friday! Lots of sun and cool weather expected for the afternoon with highs near the mid 50’s.

Another freezing start near the low 30’s Sunday with more of that sunshine continuing. However, there will be an increase in clouds towards the afternoon where we could see an isolated shower in a few spots, although will not be much. Highs will near the mid 50’s.

Continued cooler than normal through the beginning of next week.

REMINDERS: Dress appropriately for freezing mornings, cover outdoor pipes, drip faucets, and bring your pets indoors as we get the coldest temps of the season … at least, the coldest we’ve seen so far – but there is MORE to come.

56 & 36 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down!

We’re getting in to the time to discuss freeze watches and warnings: Whenever you hear about those watches and warnings, remember a few things that could save you time, money, and a lot of headaches:  Pets should be brought inside. Cover above-ground pipes, and protect all sensitive vegetation. Check on your neighbors and the elderly. In really, REALLY cold temperatures, make sure and open cabinet doors that face exterior walls, and allow a thin stream of water about the size of a pencil lead to run from the faucet farther away from where the water enters your home.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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Small Business Owners Weigh In On COVID Relief Bill

Small Business Owners Weigh In On COVID Relief Bill

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – All eyes remain on lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass a COVID-19 relief bill before the Senate adjourns for it’s holiday recess on December 18th.

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have signaled support for a new $900 billion plan, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on Thursday.

Most lawmakers agree that new coronavirus legislation is needed, as several relief programs and policies are set to expire at the end of the year.

Greater assistance is also needed for unemployed Americans, especially since the U.S. only added 245,000 jobs in November – much fewer than what was previously expected.

Senator Marsha Blackburn said in a Zoom call that she was hopeful a bipartisan COVID bill was on the way.

“As I have talked with Tennesseans from one end of the state to the other, they all want to know when they’re getting a second COVID bill, I will simply say we are continuing to work on it. As many of you are aware, we have twice – not once but twice – put our relief bill here in the Senate which repositions the unused money from the CARES Act,” says Senator Blackburn.

Emily Johnson, who owns a hair salon in Fort Oglethorpe, says that one thing she hopes for with this round of COVID relief, is more structure, particularly for self-employed workers like her.

“I never received anything back, you know, if I was able to get a loan or anything. Now, four months later, after we’re back at work, we’re starting to get back into the groove of things – I finally heard something. But you know, I had friends and stuff that received a thousand dollars and I had people like me that never heard a word. So when I say structured that’s literally what I mean. Like, you can’t just pick and choose who it goes to and who it doesn’t. They just need a better system,” says Johnson.

Johnson says that she hopes the bipartisan relief bill can pass before the end of the year, so that other small businesses can get some much-needed financial aid.

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Firefighter PPE safety

Firefighter PPE safety

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee- As well reported Thursday, firefighters might not receive the first wave of the COVID Vaccine. 

“We lean heavy on safety as a whole because of the nature of the business we’re in,” said Chief Phil Hyman.

“Firefighters are already pretty well prepared. We use N95s And a lot of medical calls we run even prior to Covid but we did have to do, is step up the number of N95s we keep in stock,” said Hyman.

For the last several months, firefighters have had to wear an additional level of protection due to Covid.

“We did up to but I would’ve called P100s they are a canister that attaches to our face piece that we wear with our Airpax to go into fires so if firefighter can take their face peace and hope this cartridge up another front of it and get multiple multiple uses out of this one canister to protect them against Covid,” said Hyman.

Chief Hyman said firefighter safety and COVID safety go hand and hand.

“We’re used to stepping up at the safety game and it’s just another piece of our business that we’re having to pay attention to. It is a chore, it is work but it’s something that’s important to protect firefighters,” said Hyman.

Chief Hyman said all the additional safety procedures such as masks go to protect not only the firefighters but the people they serve.

“If they happen to have Covid and don’t know it at least if there were a mask they’re not transferring that disease to someone else. Doubt protects the firefighters as well we might put a mask on that individual they could lead back to that individual as well,” said Hyman.

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Salvation Army has 500 angels that need to be adopted

Salvation Army has 500 angels that need to be adopted

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The Chattanooga Salvation army is asking for your help in adopting angels this year.

Currently, the Salvation Army has 500 Angels left to be adopted. 

This year the organization has seen a record breaking amount of angels, meaning they are needing the communities help more than ever before. 

Major Mark Smith says though it’s been a tough year chattanooga has really come together to help out those in need. 

“With covid, tornadoes and everything this community has been through. It’s been really a bad year in that perspective. A lot of people have lost income, people have lost loved ones and now the need is much greater than it’s ever been. I appreciate the community stepping up to meet this need,” says Sheryl Fletcher, Manager of Health Services.

The deadline to drop off the gifts is tomorrow but drop offs will be extended for those who are just now adopting angels

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Hamilton County Schools starts Covid-19 Rapid testing Program

Hamilton County Schools starts Covid-19 Rapid testing Program

HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Hamilton County Schools are beginning to implement a new  district wide rapid Covid-19 testing program. 

The school district was chosen by the state so that means that all supplies have been provided to schools at no charge and will be available to  staff and students. 

School nurses will administer the tests, and all results will be reported to the Tennessee Department of Health. 

“This is going to be a game changer for us. It only takes 20 mins. If they are positive we know right then and quarantine them right then. We can get them out of the building and into quarantine. That is going to be huge as far as contact tracing. We know where they have been and who they have been around,” says Sheryl Fletcher, Manager of Health Services for HCS. 

Hamilton county schools explained that they would be implementing the rapid testing pilot in a set of 4 stages: Stage One, which began today,  provided tests for any symptomatic middle school staff member.

Stage Two, which will begin in a few weeks, will make testing available for all Symptomatic staff members at any Hamilton County school.

Stage Three will go into effect at the start of the spring semester and will allow any symptomatic student to receive testing.

And the final stage- Stage Four is set to begin in February and will open up testing to any Asymptomatic staff member at a Hamilton County school. “

School officials tell News 12 that other forms of testing will also be available off site.

“If somebody presents in the nurse’s office with Covid like symptoms, they can take the test. If they get a negative we can still offer them to go get a PCR test at our testing site one to one or they can go get a PCR test at their physician or Alstom drive thru testing,” says Jennifer Bronson, COVID-19 Response Coordinator for Hamilton County Schools.

Hamilton county schools is aware this will add to the already busy workload of school nurses, but says that the nurses are willing to do whatever it takes.

“I don’t think anyone in our profession right now is doing what they normally do. It’s like We are all doing what’s needed for the kids,” says Mardee Miller, Principal of Howard Connect. 

The schools did send consent forms home with all the students to be signed by their guardians.

School officials say they will not test anyone without a consent form. 

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Weather Update: Friday Afternoon’s Forecast – December 4th, 2020

Weather Update: Friday Afternoon’s Forecast – December 4th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF):  Cold & Wet Start to Friday, but Sunny for the Weekend!

Clouds with rain will move early Friday and continue widespread into the afternoon with rain totals for the day near 1”. Highs will be cool in the low 50’s. Majority of the rain will leave by 5 PM with only a few light showers that will dry out by Friday night.

Cold start to Saturday in the mid 30’s with clouds clearing by the afternoon making way for lots of sunshine with highs near 52. More of that sunshine will continue into Sunday.

Continued cooler than normal through the beginning of next week.

REMINDERS: Dress appropriately for freezing mornings, cover outdoor pipes, drip faucets, and bring your pets indoors as we get the coldest temps of the season … at least, the coldest we’ve seen so far – but there is MORE to come.

56 & 36 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down!

We’re getting in to the time to discuss freeze watches and warnings: Whenever you hear about those watches and warnings, remember a few things that could save you time, money, and a lot of headaches:  Pets should be brought inside. Cover above-ground pipes, and protect all sensitive vegetation. Check on your neighbors and the elderly. In really, REALLY cold temperatures, make sure and open cabinet doors that face exterior walls, and allow a thin stream of water about the size of a pencil lead to run from the faucet farther away from where the water enters your home.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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Hamilton County Health Dept Changes Quarantine Guidelines

Hamilton County Health Dept Changes Quarantine Guidelines

Hamilton County, TN (Press Release) – The Hamilton County Health Department will adopt the latest CDC guidance that allows for a reduced quarantine period for persons who have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person from 14 days to 10 or 7 days.

The CDC and the Hamilton County Health Department still recommend a 14-day quarantine period, which remains the safest approach to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CDC now allows for:

  • Quarantine to end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms occur during daily monitoring.
  • Quarantine to end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or after, and if no symptoms occur during daily monitoring.

Quarantine may end at these time points only if the following criteria are also met:

  • The person shows no symptoms of COVID-19 the entire duration of the quarantine period;
  • The person continues to monitor for symptoms following their release through Day 14; and
  • The person strictly adheres to these measures following their release through Day 14:
  • Correct and consistent mask use,
  • Social distancing,
  • Hand and cough hygiene,
  • Environmental cleaning and disinfection,
  • Avoiding crowds,
  • Ensuring adequate indoor ventilation, and
  • Self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 illness.

The new CDC guidance can be read in full here: (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-options-to-reduce-quarantine.html).

According to the CDC, close contacts are defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more.

Updated Contact Tracing Process

Any person receiving a positive COVID-19 test result, regardless of where they were tested, should self-isolate immediately, start calling their close contacts to notify them of their exposure, and ask them to quarantine according to these new guidelines. This immediate notification will help reduce the spread of the virus.

The Health Department is not sending letters of quarantine as they have in the past. Therefore, employers should no longer expect this. Employees need to explain the situation to their employer and make a plan.

“These changes in mitigation strategy are due to an increased number of positive cases in Hamilton County, an increase in testing, test result delays, and a strain on computer reporting systems,” said Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes.

Close contacts may not receive a letter or phone call from the Health Department notifying them of their close contact status at this time. The public’s proactive adherence to these guidelines can reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

New COVID-19 Testing Hours at Alstom

  • 10:00AM-2:30PM
  • This change is to accommodate staff and patients during the colder temperatures.
  • Everyone in the car should wear a mask.
  • Free transportation to the testing site is available by calling (423) 209-8383.
  • View the Health Department’s online calendar for more details here.

Free Flu Vaccine

Two upcoming opportunities for free flu vaccine are as follows, thanks to a partnership with the Benwood and Maclellan Foundations:

  • Saturday, December 5, 10:00AM-2:00PM, Westside Baptist, 4001 Hughes Ave, 37410.
  • Monday, December 7, 3:00PM-5:30pm, Casa de Oracion Santa Cruz Catholic Church, 2311 E. 23rd Street, 37407.

Information Hotline

If you have questions about COVID-19 or the flu vaccine, call the Health Department’s informational hotline at (423) 209-8383.

Additional information may be accessed through these Health Department resources:

Subscribe to the Health Department’s Mailing List and receive press releases and updates in your inbox: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/j6u3e5

Website: http://health.hamiltontn.org/

English Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HamiltonTNHealthDept/

Spanish Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SaludHamiltonTN/

YouTube English: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCkF8VUBQFLiJoxh8Sk10mA

YouTube Spanish: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwHuLpBFuLOf6hDTOCFbfyQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HamiltonHealth

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Dalton Christmas Parade continues tradition

Dalton Christmas Parade continues tradition

DALTON, Ga. (WDEF) – Floats and vehicles decked out in Christmas decorations rolled through Dalton Thursday night for the annual Christmas parade.

“It’s really fun to sit out here and see all the Christmas lights,” parade-goer Claire Cervantes said.

“It’s like really entertaining and fun,” parade-goer Mackenzie Roach said.

Folks lined up outside by the street as the parade came by.

The parade brought out many families.

“I just think that a lot of people really look forward to this, want to have this in their town, would really hate to see if we was to decide not to do it. So, I’m really glad that we’re doing this, and I hope that everybody stays safe and hope everybody enjoys it, and I think it’s a great way to end the year,” Dalton Noon Lions Club Member Todd Thompson said.

Many events have been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dalton Noon Lions Club put on the Christmas parade.

Secretary Treasurer Rick Pippin said that they did consider canceling, but didn’t want to.

So, they made it happen.

“We found out that people want to be out and do things, and we’re trying to follow all the CDC guidelines, and what the governor’s orders says in it. What we can do,” Pippin said.

The parade helps folks in need.

It’s one of the club’s largest fundraisers that helps people who need glasses.

“We’re at  point right now, we can start helping people that need surgeries and things like that if they don’t have insurance and stuff like that to pay for it, but every cent we make goes to that,” Pippin said.

This isn’t the only Christmas parade happening.

There are others, including one in Ringgold that’s happening this weekend.

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TVA brings down Widows Creek smoke stack

TVA brings down Widows Creek smoke stack

STEVENSON, Alabama (WDEF) – The end of the Widows Creek Fossil Fuel plant has just about arrived.

On Thursday, demolition crews took down the tallest tower from the old coal-burning plant.

It stood over 1,000 feet on the banks of the Tennessee River, near Stevenson, Alabama, just downstream from Tennessee.

Residents in Sequatchie County say they could hear and feel when the smoke stack came down.

TVA says today’s implosion means the old plant is now 90% destroyed as they prepare to sell the land for redevelopment.

It could be on the block by this time next year.

Widow’s Creek was once one of TVA’s largest coal plants.

It opened in the 1950s and continued producing power until 2015, when TVA moved on from coal plants.

At it’s height, the plant employed 600 workers.

from TVA
from TVA

 

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Cleveland cancels Christmas Parade over Covid case rise

Cleveland cancels Christmas Parade over Covid case rise

CLEVELAND, Tennessee (WDEF) – MainStreet Cleveland has cancelled the annual Christmas Parade scheduled for Saturday.

Executive Director Sharon Marr says they took the step because of the rapid jump in Covid-19 cases in the community.

She noted that when they began planning the parade, Cleveland had about 300 active cases.

This week, they hit 700 active cases and the New York Times labeled the city as the second biggest hotspot in the country.

“It’s just been a rapid increase. And we just have to err on the side of caution and put the public safety first.”

The decision comes at a late hour in planning.

Downtown businesses had already decorated and the city lit their downtown Christmas tree last weekend.  And people have been decorating floats for the parade all week.

Marr encourages people to still go downtown to see the lights.

 

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Weather Update: Friday Morning’s Forecast – December 4th, 2020

Weather Update: Friday Morning’s Forecast – December 4th, 2020

Tennessee Valley (WDEF):  Cold & Wet Start to Friday, but Sunny for the Weekend!

Thursday evening, clouds will increase with a few late showers Thursday night with lows in the mid 40’s. Clouds with rain will move early Friday and continue widespread into the afternoon with rain totals for the day near 1”. Highs will be cool in the low 50’s. Majority of the rain will leave by 5 PM with only a few light showers that will dry out by Friday night.

Cold start to Saturday in the mid 30’s with clouds clearing by the afternoon making way for lots of sunshine with highs near 52. More of that sunshine will continue into Sunday.

Continued cooler than normal through the beginning of next week.

REMINDERS: Dress appropriately for freezing mornings, cover outdoor pipes, drip faucets, and bring your pets indoors as we get the coldest temps of the season … at least, the coldest we’ve seen so far – but there is MORE to come.

56 & 36 are our seasonal highs and lows. The seasonal afternoon highs as well as the early morning lows are now on the way down!

We’re getting in to the time to discuss freeze watches and warnings: Whenever you hear about those watches and warnings, remember a few things that could save you time, money, and a lot of headaches:  Pets should be brought inside. Cover above-ground pipes, and protect all sensitive vegetation. Check on your neighbors and the elderly. In really, REALLY cold temperatures, make sure and open cabinet doors that face exterior walls, and allow a thin stream of water about the size of a pencil lead to run from the faucet farther away from where the water enters your home.

Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search WDEF Weather”. 

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Small Businesses Wait For Details Of COVID Relief Bill

Small Businesses Wait For Details Of COVID Relief Bill

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Time is running out for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass a COVID-19 relief bill before the Senate adjourns for it’s holiday recess on December 18th.

But there’s been renewed hope as congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have signaled support for a new $900 billion plan.

A few key provision of the proposed bill includes $288 billion dollars that will be allocated to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Rodney Van Valkenburg, Executive Director of the Chattanooga Theatre Center, says that the relief would be much needed.

“So we’ve benefited from funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, where there was money given to the Tennessee Arts Commission and that they were able to pass that down locally. So all these national funding does have a direct impact on arts organizations and when the arts industry also gets hit it also has a bubble effect,” says Valkenburg.

And while Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee’s 3rd District says that this bipartisan plan was a “bare bones bill” – it got rid of unnecessary spending that he says was included for political purposes.

“It’s a bare bones bill that is much better for the American people. What I mean by that is aid to states, we’re talking aid for unemployment, we’re talking medical aid, we’re talking student loan relief. Things that I think the vast majority of the American people can say ‘my goodness we are in the throws of economic despair due to COVID, let’s come up with a relief package that works,” says Fleischmann.

Congressman Fleischmann says that he hopes the bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill can pass before the end of the year, so that small businesses across the Tennessee Valley can get some much needed financial aid.

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Coronavirus Pandemic and Holidays cause concerns for Mental Health Experts

Coronavirus Pandemic and Holidays cause concerns for Mental Health Experts

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – It’s no secret that the year 2020 hasn’t been the best.

This year our area has been faced with community unrest, tornadoes, and a global pandemic causing us to be isolated from our normal routines. 

With the holiday season here, Mental health experts want those who are feeling depressed, stressed, or overwhelmed to know that they aren’t alone. 

“Things are worse around the holidays because we all have expectations. Weather , family expectations, loneliness, stress and finances can make the holidays stressful for everyone.This year is going to be exceptionally difficult for those who are struggling. Because the lack of access to your family, friends, and access to activities that typically boost moods around the holidays are going to be constricted in some capacity,” says Kristin Smith, Licensed Professional Counselor for Parkridge Medical Center. 

Health experts say it’s important to recognize the signs of a mental health crisis. 

“If you feel like there is no way out of this, there’s no way out of my financial crisis because of the pandemic, I’ve lost loved ones,Ii have lost everything. If you are feeling like there is no way out; that is one of our hallmark symptoms that you are heading for a crisis. There is help and there is hope,” says Eve Nite, Erlanger’s Community Liaison.

Officials encourage anyone who sees someone showing suicidal or depression symptoms to reach out and talk with them. 

“Suicidal idealization can affect anyone; it doesn’t matter how old, how young or how middle of the road you are. Talking about Sucide and mental health with someone is super important when you recognize those symptoms. If you talk to that person and let them express how they are feeling, that usually is a great intervention and shows them that there is a lifeline,” says Regena Young, with Erlanger Outreach & Injury Prevention.

Health Experts say it’s important to keep a daily routine such as: getting out of bed and getting dressed, eating healthy meals, exercising, and communicating with friends and family even if it has to be virtual.

National Suicide Hotline:800-273-8255 / TEXT: 741-741

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Firefighters hoping to have early access to vaccine

Firefighters hoping to have early access to vaccine

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee- Firefighters might not be included in the first round of COVID vaccines.

The CDC’s immunization advisory panel voted Tuesday to first give the COVID-19 vaccine to Professions in tier one such as healthcare workers

“We’ve had 45 Firefighters who have contracted the Coronavirus, all that’s going to do is continue to rise,” said President Jack Thompson.

Thompson said firefighters are in tier one but, near the bottom which is where the problem lies.

“Problem comes down to it as we start to lose vaccines and other words were starting to give out vaccines and supplies extremely short now firefighters are at the bottom of the list,” said Thompson.

Thompson said firefighters not getting the vaccine not only puts the firefighters at risk but also the people they serve at risk.

“We’re out there already so it helps protect us but it also helps protect the citizens when we have less of a chance to spread it trying to help somebody out,” said Thompson.

Chief Hyman said the fire department is one of the first lines of defense and this vaccine can act as a first line of defense against the virus.

“A number of steps been taking to get this vaccine out there in a quick form and I think listening to Dr. Fauci and listening to some of the experts talk about the vaccine as a whole, it’s our next step, for protecting our public and protecting our people,” said Hyman.

The fire department stressed the vaccine add an additional level of safety but mask will still be worn.

“One more layer protection that we can help protect first responders our equipment needs will still be there will still be using our PPE appropriately even with the vaccine,” said Hyman.

It is another step in the protection of the firefighter in the city, our PPE, we wear every day or mask or gloves this is just another layer that will help assist us in protecting everybody,” said Thompson.

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