Hamilton County now has three confirmed cases of COVID-19

Staff Photo by Troy Stolt / Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speak at a press conference on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, announcing that the county now has a third case of Coronavirus.

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Hamilton County now has three total confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an announcement Wednesday afternoon.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced two additional cases at a press conference five days after the first case, a priest at a prominent downtown Chattanooga church, was announced.

At the conference, Coppinger said that the second reported case had direct contact with the first, but while it's a suspected travel exposure incident, it is unclear where the third case contracted the virus.

The county did not provide any further details about the cases demographic and declined to answer questions about how many other tests have been administered.

(READ MORE: These are the Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama COVID-19 cases by county)

Moreover, Coppinger and Chattanooga - Hamilton County Health Department administrator Becky Barnes pleased with the response of local hospitals despite pressure from citizens and the media to require hospitals to report how many tests are being administered through private health care, despite concern from the public about the sample of tests taken.

As of the county's last reported data on Tuesday, only 22 total tests had been administered and results shared with the county.

Hamilton County's new cases send the state to triple digits, according to data released Wednesday afternoon.

As cases rise, Coppinger doubled down on a recommendation he made earlier in the day to end dining services at all local restaurants and bars. Coppinger and the county have not mandated any such restrictions, because Coppinger says he believes the county will make the right decisions about social distancing.

This is a developing story. Stay with the Times Free Press for updates.