Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Current Status

Tennessee Statistics

You can find current information about COVID-19 and how it is affecting our state at the Tennessee Department of Health’s website. Data is updated and posted daily to their website at 3pm Eastern. For more information, visit https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

Visitation Policy

Learn how our visitation policies have changed at our hospitals, nursing homes and practices due to COVID-19.

Mask Policy

Visitors and staff are required to wear masks at all Covenant Health facilities and medical practices. To help conserve our supply of masks, we encourage you to bring a mask from home to wear. We appreciate your cooperation in protecting the health and safety of our patients and employees.  

Meet Helen, our COVID-19 Interactive Chat Assistant

If you have questions about COVID-19, we encourage you to try Helen, our new interactive COVID-19 chat assistant. Helen can guide you through your symptoms and connect you with a nurse who can answer your COVID-19 questions, schedule a telehealth medical appointment,  and even call ahead to the emergency department to let them know you’re coming. Helen is available at CovenantHealth.com and all hospital and medical practice websites. Learn more.

Community and Media FAQ

We know there is a heightened level of anxiety and concern about COVID-19, and we receive many questions about how our health system is managing this public health pandemic and protecting our patients and staff.

We have posted a frequently asked questions page on our website, and will update it regularly as the situation evolves and questions change.

See All Previous COVID-19 Updates


In the News

March 25, 2020

Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon: the 16th annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon events have been rescheduled to November 14-15, 2020. Originally scheduled for March 28-29, Covenant Health and the Knoxville Track Club postponed the events to limit the potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Online registration is open again for participants not already registered at KnoxvilleMarathon.com. Race participants who registered before the event was postponed will be contacted by the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon via email with instructions and more information.

Previous Updates

March 6, 2020

A message from Covenant Health: Covenant Health’s first priorities are the safety, welfare and privacy of our patients at all of our facilities. Our medical professionals have been trained to properly identify any patients who may have contagious illnesses that could be considered a risk to public health. We have protocols in place to assure that patients who may have infectious diseases receive appropriate screenings and care, including isolation if indicated.

We are working hard to ensure we have adequate supplies of gowns, masks and gloves to protect employees who may be asked to care for a patient who has a contagious illness, including COVID-19, and as always we are following stringent infection control guidelines at our hospitals, nursing homes and clinics.

We continue to work closely with local authorities to monitor developments and will respond accordingly. 

February 27, 2020

Mark Browne, MD, chief medical officer at Covenant Health, recently spoke with WATE about COVID-19. “For most people, even if they do get exposed to this virus, it’s going to be relatively mild symptoms,” he said. “In some people it will be a mild cold or a fever.” He also provided recommendations on how to limit your exposure to the virus and help prevent its spread.

January. 24, 2020

John Adams, MD, infectious disease specialist with Covenant Health, discusses the novel coronavirus threat to East Tennessee on WBIR-TV and WATE-TV.

January. 24, 2020

In light of recent publicity about the coronavirus outbreak in China, we are sharing information about what the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is and how you can prevent the risk of infection. Read more on our blog.


Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Fever of 100 degrees or more
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath

Be sure to tell your medical provider if you, or someone you are in close contact with, have traveled to a high-risk area or have been on a cruise in the last 30 days.


  • No Symptoms

    COVID-19 symptoms may not appear for 2-14 days after exposure.


  • Mild Symptoms

    If you have mild symptoms, stay home and limit your exposure to others. Notify your healthcare provider and follow their recommendations.


  • Severe Symptoms

    If you begin to experience symptoms that are life threatening, call 911 immediately.


Prevention Methods

The same habits that help prevent the spread of the flu and common cold are the best way to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, too. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue or elbow.


  • Physical Contact

    The virus is believed to spread person-to-person, as close as six feet. Avoid close proximity with anyone who is sick.


  • Keep Hands Clean

    The best way to stop germs from spreading from one person to another is frequent hand washing. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t wash.


  • Don’t Touch

    Try not to touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth if your hands aren’t freshly washed.

  • coronavirus germ icon
    Have a Cough or Cold?

    Cough or sneeze into a clean tissue or use your elbow. Never use your hands.


  • Keep Surfaces Clean

    Clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces such as cell phones, toys, countertops and bathroom surfaces.


  • If You’re Sick

    If you are sick, stay home. Children should stay home from school and other activities if they show signs of sickness.


Proper hand washing is the first line of defense against spreading disease.

  • First, wet your hands with warm water.
  • Next, apply a quarter-sized amount of soap.
  • Rub your hands together until the soap forms a lather, being sure to rub the tops of your hands, in between your fingers and thumbs and underneath fingernails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 40 seconds, long enough to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water and dry them with a clean paper towel, if possible.
  • Use your paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door if needed.
  • If no soap is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, and allow the sanitizer to air dry on your hands.

Frequently Asked Questions


There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans.

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your healthcare professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

For COVID-19, a negative test result for a sample collected while a person has symptoms likely means that the COVID-19 virus is not causing their current illness. However, in the early stages of infection, it is possible the virus will not be detected.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others, and the CDC recommends these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Current CDC guidance for when it is OK to release someone from isolation is made on a case by case basis and includes meeting all of the following requirements:

  • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough
  • Someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

  • If I am not sick: The CDC does not recommend people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
  • If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with the person who is sick should not stay in the same room with them, or they should wear a facemask if they enter a room with the person who is sick.

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Limit contact with pets and animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask. 

  • Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment or think you have been exposed to coronavirus, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have been exposed COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined trash can, then immediately wash your hands.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
  • Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Do not share: You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect: Practice routine cleaning of high touch surfaces, including counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
  • Disinfect areas with bodily fluids: Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them.
  • Household cleaners: Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product

  • Stay at home until instructed to leave: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider: The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention