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Gov. Bill Lee visits a cafe in Perry County on May 8.


The Tennessee Department of Health has reported a total of 18,011 cases of COVID-19 across the state, up 623 cases from the number on Sunday afternoon. Of those people, 1,489 individuals have been hospitalized and 301 people have died, up seven and three in 24 hours, respectively.

Nearly 12,100 test results were processed and reported since Sunday, bringing the statewide total to 337,428 people tested.

Over the weekend, the state reported 418 new cases and processed more than 15,500 tests. State health officials have recently begun mass testing within populations deemed more susceptible to becoming infected and experiencing bad health outcomes by COVID-19, including nursing homes, public housing and the state’s correctional facilities. Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said the testing will fluctuate daily case reporting because officials expect to find a higher yield of positive cases among these populations. 

Williamson County has 480 cases as of Monday, with 10 deaths and 7,838 negative cases conducted, per the state's map

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development launched the third pandemic unemployment program provided through the federal CARES Act on Monday. The new relief is dubbed by the department as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, not to be confused with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation which are already in place. 

The new fund offers an additional 13 weeks of unemployment to individuals who have exhausted their rights to regular compensation under state laws or have not been eligible to receive unemployment until this point.

More than 500,000 Tennessee residents have filed for unemployment since March 15, according to the latest data from the state labor department, overwhelming the safety-net system and putting pressure on Tennessee’s formerly billion-dollar trust fund

As businesses across the state begin to reopen, state officials warned individuals who refuse to work for fear of becoming infected with COVID-19 may not receive state unemployment benefits. 

“Under federal law, workers who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 who can work, and do not qualify for any other Unemployment Insurance provisions through the state or under the CARES Act, must return to work if called back,” read the release. 

Workplace complaints submitted to the Tennessee Occupations Safety and Health Administration have more than doubled in recent months, the majority of which have described dangerous working conditions related to the pandemic. So far, the state has not investigated any COVID-19-related complaints because they lack the authority to enforce interim safety precautions.

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post

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