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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / The Tivoli theatre is seen on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Tivoli will be re-opening after shutting down because of coronavirus, with limited seating as well as other precautions to ensure social distancing.

Every week, the Times Free Press will publish five essential things to know about the coronavirus pandemic in the Chattanooga region. For more updated case count numbers and other data related to Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, visit timesfreepress.com/virus.

Five things to know about COVID-19 in the Chattanooga region for the week ending Oct. 9.

1. Coppinger renews Hamilton County mask mandate: The county mayor re-upped the mask requirement through Nov. 22.

Why it matters: New cases and spread of the virus have slowed in Hamilton County in the past month, something local leaders and health experts credit in part to the countywide mask mandate. On Tuesday, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger extended the requirement even as restrictions on large gatherings and businesses are easing in the county and state. Coppinger said wearing masks is necessary to keep Chattanooga from becoming a hotspot for the virus.

Read more about why Coppinger extended the mask mandate and why local groups support the move.

2. Oak Ridge researchers look into the different symptoms of COVID-19: Some people lose their sense of smell. Others have trouble breathing. Some people show no symptoms at all.

Why it matters: The researchers, using a supercomputer to analyze genes from cells in the lung fluid of nine COVID-19 patients, are looking for the various ways the virus affects the body. Their work will hopefully lead to a better understanding of interventions to prevent infection or treat those who are sick.

Read more about what the Oak Ridge researchers are learning and what it could mean for our understanding of the virus.

3. Hamilton County passes 100 deaths from coronavirus: The grim milestone comes as the area sees a decrease in cases.

Why it matters: Those with underlying health conditions and the elderly are most at-risk for severe infections and death from the virus. The county passed 100 deaths Thursday, and data from the health department show several disparities, particularly among Black residents and men.

Read more about what the statistics tell us about the impact of COVID-19 on residents.

4. Three Chattanooga-area entertainment venues open this weekend: The upcoming shows are among the first in the area to welcome back a live audience.

Why it matters: For months, area music fans have had only livestreams and YouTube videos to quench their love for live performances. This weekend The Signal and the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, as well as the Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee, will host shows for the first time in a months.

Read more about who is taking the stage and what safety measures are being taken.

5. Chattanooga area groups helping women see spike in need during COVID-19 pandemic: Those on the front lines serving women in crisis fear the virus will have lasting impacts.

Why it matters: As well as the health risks from COVID-19, the virus is affecting people economically and pushing people into crisis. For leaders of organizations serving women — from those battling substance abuse disorder, to the homeless, to people in abusive relationships — the pandemic is increasing the need for community support.

Read more about what local leaders are seeing in their communities.

What are your experiences with the coronavirus? Are you or someone you love affected by it? What questions do you have? We would like to hear from you, so please contact efite@timesfreepress.com or wmassey@timesfreepress.com.

Contact Wyatt Massey at wmassey@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.

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