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Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

New COVID-19 Concern: Returning Spring Breakers

Kincannon asks returning travellers to listen to their doctors: call the Knox County Health Department for advice about self quarantining at (865) 215-5555.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In a wide-ranging interview on Thursday evening Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon spoke to 10News about the dramatic changes unfolding in the city in response to COVID-19.

"It's really important that our first responders don't get sick.  They need to be on call 24 hours a day seven days a week," said Mayor Kincannon. 

Earlier this week she issued the first "State of Emergency" order in memory for the city of Knoxville. The move gives her the power to make emergency purchases for specialized equipment and other necessities immediately and without delays in the typical bureaucratic approval process. 

She can also order businesses to close, though at the time of the interview she expressed appreciation for most people across the city respecting the "social distancing" request by leaders and the urgent appeals for people to stay home.

"I think we still need to urge compliance. A lot of people think that because they are healthy, they don't need to stay home. But the truth of the matter is you can be carrying the corona virus and have no symptoms at all and then transmit it to people who may get it and have a more severe case," said the mayor.

For people who spent this week on spring break and are headed back to Knoxville Mayor Kincannon says health leaders are asking them to call the Knox County Health Department Hotline at (865) 215-5555 between Monday and Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

"That is a big challenge.  People have been traveling and when they come back we want them to follow the most cautious advice of the (Knox County) Health Department," explained the mayor.