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Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis

Officials in Bradley County, Tennessee, said Friday that the county's first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed.

"We knew as a community that it was just a matter of time before Bradley County would see its first positive test case of COVID-19," Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis said in a video news conference.

"We were informed by the health department that a positive result came back to one of our residents. We're very hopeful for this patient. This patient is not in serious condition and is resting at home under quarantine orders," Davis said. The patient is being monitored for their safety and for the safety of others, he said.

"The health department is in contact with this person and working tirelessly to trace the movements of this person and anyone they may have been in contact with to determine who else might need to be tested," Davis said.

"We continue to modify our response daily as the need arises and the situation changes," he said.

The health department has the lead on response. 

As of Friday afternoon, Hamilton County has eight confirmed cases and Grundy County confirmed its first two cases

"We will continue to keep our citizens informed as things change and the need arises," Davis said, urging local residents to practice social distancing and to wash their hands frequently and avoid groups of any kind.

"No gatherings of more than 10 people is the rule across the nation. I say no gatherings of any kind," Davis said. "If you go to work, please go home after work and stay there."

During the news conference, Davis urged young people in Bradley County to heed warnings and take steps to avoid exposure and to keep from exposing others. 

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

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Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks also urged city residents to be cautious.

"It is up to us here in the City with Spirit to exercise the proper amount of caution, as we are today, but also with reasonable actions," Brooks said. "We will not allow reasonable fear to dictate these actions, but we will not deny that there are very serious public health situations all around us and now here in Bradley County at this very moment."

Brooks said he was joining with Davis in declarations of emergency to allow officials to take necessary steps.

"For now, though, we will not give in to a spirit of fear but we will make wise decisions regarding the health and safety of all of our families here in Cleveland and Bradley County."

Bradley County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Spence said the coronavirus has already forced changes in daily life for local residents and warned that more changes would be coming. He urged people to keep themselves informed before going out for supplies.

Spence also said information about government resources would be made available though the county's website to people who lose their jobs because of shutdowns.

The patient is in the age range of 41-50, according to Bradley County Health Department Director Brittany Hopkins. State figures on Friday showed Bradley's case now among 35 COVID-19 cases in that age group. Hopkins couldn't give details about test results, the number of tests given or how long the patient had symptoms.

The patient was notified first and now an interviewing process has begun to track down anyone who might have had contact, Hopkins said.

Brooks said the city's parks and playgrounds, which he said were beginning to draw large numbers of people, have been closed and talks are taking place about other additional measures.

Brooks and Davis called for a united effort to slow the spread of the virus and said open communications will help keep everyone informed.

Davis said it was inevitable that the number of cases will increase.

"Hang in there, we'll be OK," Davis said.

Brooks added, "Stay home, stay strong and stay healthy."

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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