Emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5 is pending. (Photo: John Partipilo)

24 Tennessee counties newly at “high risk” for COVID, as infections rise across the state

BY: - July 20, 2022

If it seems like more people in your orbit have been coming down with COVID recently, it’s not your imagination. COVID is spreading again, not yet at the same high levels of last spring, but the disease is experiencing a noticeable spike in Tennessee and across the country. One in four Tennessee counties is now […]

Franklin High School (Photo: Williamson County Schools)

In Tennessee’s first partisan school board elections, candidates in key races address issues

BY: - July 18, 2022

In Williamson County, candidates are competing in hotly contested school board races, representing how divisive politics have become around teachers and students.  Last year, Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill allowing political parties to nominate candidates for school board races, which were previously nonpartisan elections. The bill followed a series of clashes between […]

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Third East Tennessean charged with fraud for misuse of federal COVID funds

BY: - July 15, 2022

A Maryville woman who claimed she needed COVID emergency relief funding to keep her Christian ministry afloat instead used the money to fund a trip to Disney, buy land, two trucks and a travel trailer and pay off her student loans, court records show. Sarrah Denton Willhite has struck a deal to plead guilty to […]

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East Tennesseans accused of fraud in Paycheck Protection loans

BY: - June 20, 2022

An East Tennessee woman who was already on probation in a federal fraud case is now accused of duping  the Small Business Administration into awarding her a Paycheck Protection Program loan for a fake business and using the money to get plastic surgery in Florida and spend a week recovering at the Trump International Beach […]

Sullivan County Sheriff's Department vehicles. (Photo: Facebook)

Sullivan County woman claims sheriff’s deputies retaliated after she insisted on masks

BY: - May 23, 2022

A 61-year-old woman claims in a lawsuit filed Friday she was roughed up, left inside a sweltering cruiser and falsely accused because she insisted Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office deputies don face masks while speaking to her. Attorney James Friauf on Friday filed a civil-rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville on behalf of Robin […]

This rural, red Tennessee county was a vaccine success story. Not anymore.

BY: - May 20, 2022

MEIGS COUNTY, Tenn. — At a glance, it seemed like a Southern pandemic success story in a most unlikely place. A small county northeast of Chattanooga, along the twisting banks of Chickamauga Lake, for much of the past year has reported the highest covid-19 vaccination rate in Tennessee and one of the highest in the […]

President Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House Aug. 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Tyson Foods wrote draft of Trump order keeping meatpacking plants open during pandemic

BY: - May 18, 2022

This story was originally published by Investigate Midwest.  Lawyers for Tyson Foods, one of America’s largest meatpacking companies, drafted an early version of a 2020 executive order that allowed plants to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Congressional report based on company emails shows. It’s been reported that the meatpacking industry wrote a draft version […]

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JULY 22: A person stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border barrier painted with a mural depicting people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children and were deported as adults on July 22, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. The mural was created by artist Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana. While the Biden administration has haltingly restarted the asylum system along the southwest border, only a small number of asylum seekers whose situations are considered the most urgent have been allowed to cross the border with Title 42 exceptions. Thousands of asylum seekers remain stuck in Tijuana in precarious conditions. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Biden administration to halt pandemic policy blocking migrants who claim asylum

BY: - April 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday the government will terminate a Trump-era policy that prevented migrants from claiming asylum during a health crisis, including the coronavirus pandemic. The policy will end on May 23, the CDC wrote in its notice. “There is no longer a serious danger that the entry […]

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Knoxville hospital uses COVID as liability shield for suit over fatal medical mistake

BY: - March 31, 2022

A Knoxville hospital is trying to use the COVID-19 pandemic to shield itself from liability for a nurse’s fatal medication administration mistake, court records show. Sonny Caldwell was being treated for various conditions, including COVID-19, while he was a patient at the Turkey Creek Medical Center in October 2020, but an investigation by the Knox […]

A vaccination clinic at Casa Azafran in Nashville, March 28, 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: Ending the COVID Pandemic is Easy: Get Vaccinated, Get Boosted

BY: - February 16, 2022

One of my favorite board games for many years now is Pandemic. In this game, players try to discover cures to four diseases while keeping those diseases from getting out of control. It requires a little luck and a lot of cooperation, as everyone wins or loses together. As we approach two years of living […]

Xtend Healthcare in Hendersonville, had no experience with contact tracing when it scored its first state contract for $20 million. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State ends no-bid contract with contact tracing firm, $65 million poorer

BY: - February 7, 2022

The state of Tennessee has wound down its contact tracing contract with Xtend Healthcare, a for profit medical billing firm hired in June 2020 through a no-bid contract in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic as state resources quickly became overwhelmed. Over the course of 19 months, the contract with the Hendersonville-based company — […]

Emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5 is pending. (Photo: John Partipilo)

White House plans speedy delivery to states of COVID vaccine for littlest kids

BY: - February 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is preparing to ship COVID-19 vaccines to the states as quickly as possible, should the Food and Drug Administration approve an emergency use authorization for kids under 5.  White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Wednesday that approval of the specially formulated vaccine would make 18 million young children […]