CORRECTION: This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. on March 23, 2020, to state COVID-19 cases are at 8 and not 12 in Hamilton County. According to the Hamilton County health officials, the state department of health had a duplicate error when reporting numbers Monday. Last updated March 23 at 9:10 p.m.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger announced a state of emergency in the county Monday afternoon, more than a week after the federal government, state government and city of Chattanooga all announced states of emergency.
According to Coppinger, the county decided to take the action after realizing how important it will be for people and businesses seeking emergency relief funds after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
"It's important that the county is under a state of emergency for that," Coppinger said, adding that he waited to make the call.
Despite the county saying there were no new COVID-19 cases Monday afternoon, the state reported four additional cases. It was later determined the Tennessee Department of Health made an error.
"We followed up on this and determined in conjunction with the state that our numbers have not changed and are still 8," said Tom Bodkin, spokesman for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department. "The state had a duplicate error on their end and are working to correct the data now."
According to the county's health department, there have been 171 negative and 8 positive tests returned to the county from public and private labs combined.
County officials say that 77 other residents are being monitored and are on motion restriction through the county.
The health department refused to provide where in the county the cases are, the ages of the confirmed case patients and other demographic information.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.