Rocky McElhaney Law Firm’s Resource Guide to COVID-19
Comprehensive resources for Tennessee residents dealing with the coronavirus
Here at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we want to express our concern for everyone dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting Tennessee and the rest of the country. Our first priority is the health and safety of our staff and clients, and we are closely monitoring this ever-changing situation both in our neighborhoods and throughout the state.
To help keep our community informed and engaged during these troubling times, we’ve compiled a list of local, government, emergency, educational, and family resources. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need – we can get through this together.
Note: All resources and info are subject to change – ensure you check with each particular agency first for the most current operating information.
COVID-19: The facts
The COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic on March 11, 2020. It’s a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, mainly between people who are in close contact with one another, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. COVID-19 can also potentially spread if a person touches a surface with the virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Patients with COVID-19 report symptoms of fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Emergency warning signs for serious coronavirus include trouble breathing and persistent pain or pressure in chest. If you develop these emergency symptoms, the CDC recommends seeking medical assistance immediately.
Currently, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment to prevent COVID-19. Preventative actions like self-quarantine, social distancing, and washing your hands are the best and only ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Luckily, this isn’t too hard to do!
Coronavirus in Tennessee: What you need to know
Here in Tennessee, there are two public information numbers set up by the State Department of Health for COVID-19 information – 833-556-2476 and 877-857-2945. They are available 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT daily, and can give you official and accurate answers to your questions.
Following are our current state statistics regarding COVID-19.
- Current cases statewide – 2,683 and rising
- Number of hospitalizations – 200
- Fatalities – 24
Please note these numbers change rapidly. You can find the most updated statistics here.
Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in Tennessee?
The Tennessee Department of Health has set up several sites for coronavirus testing across the state. More sites are being added every day as demand and need increases. Note that if you are showing mild symptoms, Tennesseans should first call their usual source of healthcare for medical advice. Most locations will do a phone assessment and there may be no need for a test.
You can find a full list of Tennessee COVID-19 testing sites here. Some facilities may be drive-up, some may be clinics, and some may be remote via phone or video call. Ensure you call first to check operating hours and guidelines.
How does the coronavirus test work?
As the pandemic grows, new testing is being developed. Public health agencies and hospitals were initially suffering from a lack of testing kits, but these are becoming increasingly more available. Currently, coronavirus testing is done via placing a sterile swab at the back of a patient’s nasal passage to collect a sample – also called a nasopharyngeal swab. This test should only take a few minutes and only cause slight discomfort for a moment or two.
Your medical professional will also likely ask you some questions about recent activity, travel, or possible exposure to the virus. You’ll probably be asked to self-quarantine until you receive your results.
These samples then go to a lab, where a biotechnician tests for coronavirus genes. These tests can take anywhere from hours to days to process, but the FDA is authorizing emergency use for new tests that deliver results in under an hour.
Emergency resources for the community
We’ve also collected as many resources as we could find to help our local community during these uncertain times. From help with food and shelter to which government and court agencies are open, we hope the resources below provide valuable information and assistance.
For assistance with food:
- Participants in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
- Metro Nashville Public School meal pickup
- Martha O’Bryan Center – food bank and services
- GraceWorks – food and rent assistance
- Franklin Special School District – meals for students
- Robertson County Schools – meals for children
You can also find a full list of food pantries in Nashville here.
For assistance with our vulnerable populations:
- FiftyForward – grocery, medication delivery, or other help for older adults
- COVID Help Nashville – contact-free delivery of necessities
- United Way Tennessee
You should also note that the Tennessee Supreme Court has halted all evictions until April 30. This does not prevent a landlord from collecting your rent, but it does prohibit them from evicting you and it does prevent the utility company from turning off your power. If you are having trouble paying your rent, you may be able to find financial help from one of the organizations below. You are also welcome to contact our office for legal guidance.
Court and government information
As of March 24, all residents of Nashville and Davidson County are under a “Safer at Home” order, which is to remain in effect for 14 days. This order is to protect the health of the citizens and the community and may be extended as the situation calls. Tennessee courts remain open, but in-person court proceedings (with the exception of emergencies) are suspended through April 30 at the earliest.
COVID-19 financial resources for Tennesseans
Many of our citizens have lost their jobs and livelihoods as the coronavirus pandemic tears through our global economy. In an effort to help, many resources are becoming available for those affected most.
- Emergency Cash Assistance Program – from the Tennessee Department of Health for families who lost jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Catholic Charities Tennessee Relief
- Rooftop Nashville – rent and mortgage assistance
- Economic impact payments – automatic payment from the IRS
- Childcare Payment Assistance – through the TN Department of Human Services
- Small Business Association Disaster Loans
- SBA Paycheck Protection Program
- Tennessee Talent Exchange – to help find essential work right now
- Coronavirus Tax Relief information – federal tax deadline is extended to July 15, 2020
Please note that not every individual or family will qualify for every program, but many requirements have been waived or modified for the coronavirus pandemic.
Remember, your mental health is as important as your physical health. If you’re having problems coping or are feeling stressed, the CDC has advice on how to cope.
Home schooling and educational resources
Currently, some schools are closed completely and some are instituting virtual and distance learning. Check with your child’s school to find out how they plan to proceed, especially if they are a senior.
However, right now, we’re all home schooling our children. With schools closed and the majority of us working from home, helping our kids learn from the comfort of the living room can be challenging. Thankfully, the days of dial-up internet are behind us and there’s a vast library of learning resources out there that help keep your kids engaged and involved in their curriculum. Try a few of these!
- Lakeshore Learning – lessons and activities for all ages
- Scholastic Learn at Home – free daily courses for kids
- Khan Academy – educational resources for students and parents
- Lunch Doodles with Mo – a daily YouTube series that teaches kids to draw
- Storytime from Space – astronauts read your kids stories while in space!
- Cincinnati Zoo “Home Safari” – visit the zoo without leaving the house on their FB tour
- The Philadelphia Zoo does it too!
- Spend the afternoon on a global art tour – visit The Musee d'Orsay, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The National Gallery of Art, and of course The Tennessee State Museum
- Mystery Science – kids learn about science and then do fun activities with items in their own home
- Tinkergarten – get outside with the kids and connect online with other parents
- Duolingo – help them keep up with their language studies for free
There are hundreds of ideas out there; don’t be afraid to get creative. These are definitely interesting times.
Stay-home family fun
It’s valid to feel concerned and even afraid right now. Social distancing and quarantine can make us anxious, and we can start feeling bored. There are a lot of family-friendly online games and subscription services available, and many are being offered for free or at a reduced price. We’ve gathered together some of the most popular and a few of our favorites. We hope you enjoy!
- CuriosityStream – thousands of documentaries on demand
- Metropolitan Opera – offering nightly opera streams
- Netflix Party – a browser extension that lets you watch Netflix movies and chat with friends
- Downward Dog Yoga – enjoy some family relaxation
- Monterey Bay Aquarium – ten live cams to choose from
We also love this “100 Things To Do Inside” list from USA Today.
These are scary, uncertain, and difficult times for many folks. We will continue to shoulder those burdens with you and deliver new information and updates right here and across our social media as they become available.
Stay well, my friends.