COVID: Local, state records set; AC Commission acts; Expanded testing around Thanksgiving

Tennessee and Anderson County each reported record numbers of new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as the state Department of Health reported 7,951 new cases of COVID-19, and Anderson County reported 93.

That means that since the pandemic began, Tennessee has reported 318,888 cases and Anderson County has now tallied 2452 confirmed or probable cases of the virus. 449 cases are currently active, according to the state, and the seven-day positivity rate in the county is at 12.2%. That positivuty rate is much higher in Morgan and Roane counties, where it tops 16%, meaning that 16 percent of the people getting tested are getting positive results. You can see all the county-by-county data by following this link.

Monday night, after a lengthy debate, the Anderson County Commission unanimously approved a resolution “strongly urging” the public to not give in to so-called “pandemic fatigue,” and to continue to take precautionary measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Tuesday morning, County Mayor Terry Frank, who has resisted calls to issue a so-called “mask mandate” requiring everyone to wear masks in public, issued this statement:

The original draft was very similar to the City of Oak Ridge’s, but working with some of the commissioners over the last week, we added language to remember those who have passed away, honor those who have and are fighting COVID-19, recognize many of the steps we’ve taken inside government to protect employees and the citizens we serve, and make note that we acknowledge COVID-19 fatigue, but that we need to maintain diligence and not grow weary of preventing the spread.”

You can read the entire resolution on our website.

In Campbell County, classes at one middle school transitioned to all-virtual due to what the school system said was “a high number of positive cases and students and staff in quarantine.”

Jacksboro Middle School ONLY has switched to distance learning as of today (November 17th), and ending after Thanksgiving break.

Jacksboro Middle students will return on Monday, November 30th.

Earlier this week, students at Oak Ridge’s middle schools returned to their hybrid schedule of alternating days of in-class and virtual instruction from the all-in-person model for similar COVID-related reasons.

Meanwhile, Governor Bill Lee’s Unified Command Group is making more COVID-19 testing options available for Tennesseans statewide leading up to and just after Thanksgiving.

The Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee National Guard will extend operating hours at 35 county health departments, from 7 am to 5 pm, local time, on Monday, November 23rd, and the following Monday, November 30th.

Tennessee National Guard personnel will also support testing during extended hours at health departments in the Davidson, Hamilton, and Knox counties.

COVID-19 testing at county health departments is free to those who want to receive a COVID-19 test.

A complete, statewide list of all COVID-19 testing sites is available at https://covid19.tn.gov/testing-sites/.

All 89 rural county health departments will be open Mon., Nov. 23, through Wed., Nov. 25. County health departments will be closed and will not provide COVID-19 testing from Thurs. Nov. 26, through Sat. Nov. 28, 2020.

Participants should receive their test results within 72 hours, depending on test processing volume at laboratories. Information will be provided to participants at the testing locations on what they can expect after being tested. This information is also available at www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/TestedGuidance.pdf.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention has a guide available with recommendations for making Thanksgiving safer to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among family and friends. The guide is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.

Governor Lee formed the UCG on March 23, 2020, bringing together the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Military, and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to streamline coordination across key Tennessee departments to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

EastAndersonAnderson County Health Department   
710 N. Main St., Ste. A, Clinton
BlountBlount County Health Department
301 McGhee St., Maryville
CampbellCampbell County Health Department
162 Sharp-Perkins Road, Jacksboro
HamblenHamblen County Health Department
331 W. Main St., Morristown
SevierSevier County Health Department
719 Middle Creek Road, Sevierville
Source: TDH

Text of Anderson County Commission resiltion passed Monday, November 16th.

WHEREAS, Anderson County has consistently emphasized the importance of safe practices in the fight against COVID-I9 from limiting gatherings, to safe-distancing, wearing of masks and good hygiene, to altered operations in the various offices and departments of govemment; and

WHEREAS, Anderson County, through its Operations Committee has, since March of 2020, consistently offered ongoing COVID-19 Awareness – with commissioners themselves partnering with citizens outside of govemment to create and build face shields for employees and the public – and including the approval and passage of a COVID-I9 Planned Response for the safety of employees and citizens in April of 2020; and

WHEREAS, Anderson County, through inveslment in Informalion Technology, has been a leader in East Tennessee local govemment for offering elected officials, citizens, and staff the ability to meet virtually in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, Anderson County installed needlepoint bipolar technology on facilities air systems in May of 2020, at air purification system that has demonshated a 99.4% reduction rate on COVID-19 within 30 minutes; has invested in new technology and amended practices to allow citizens to conduct govemment business with little to no contact has installed barriers to protect staff and the public; has increased use of drive-through services; invested in new equipment to enhance efficacy of disinfectant efforts; has made PPE available to staff and the public wishing to do business in person; and facilitated the ability of staff to work remotely; and

WHEREAS, Anderson County elected officials and departments have partnered in an unprecedented spirit of cooperation working to mitigate the spread of the virus while continuing to serve the people of Anderson County; and

WHEREAS, intemational, national, Tennessee and Anderson County COVID-I9 cases are on the rise, according to World Health Organization and Tennessee Department of Health data; and

WHEREAS, doctors across the nation and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams are noting “pandemic fatigue” as one cause of COVID-19 surges across the nation; and

WHEREAS, as reported by the Tennessee Department of Health and Vanderbilt School of Medicine, new cases and hospitalizations are rising in all areas ofthe State ofTennessee; and

WHEREAS, it is anticipated a nationwide spike in COVID-I9 will occur over the winter months as people spend more time indoors, especially during the holiday season when people tend to gather with family and friends; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the State of Tennessee Department of Health, and numerous other sources have identified prevention measures everyone can take to help slow the spread of COVID-I9; and

WHEREAS, these simple steps can help slow the spread of the virus, which protects ourselves, our neighbors, our healthcare workers, our schools and places of business, our vulnerable citizens, and our youth; and

WHEREAS, Vanderbilt School of Medicine has reported that hospitals that serve areas in Tennessee where mask-wearing and related precautions are widespread are receiving “lower rates of growth” in hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients than hospitals in other areas of the state.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Anderson County Board of Commissioners, meeting in regular session this l6th day of November 2020, that we remember our Anderson County citizens who have lost their lives to COVID-l9 and honor those who have and are fighting COVID-19;

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respectfully request and strongly urge all residents, businesses, and visitors to not grow weary of preventing the spread of COVID-19, and to continue to take precautionary measures at all times to help slow the spread of COVID-I9, especially over the upcoming holiday and winter season when a spike is predicted to occur. Such measures include: (l) wearing face masks in public, when indoors or when we may be near others; (2) keeping hands clean by frequent washing and using hand sanitizer; (3) avoiding crowds; and (4) keeping a 6-foot distance from people who don’t live in our household

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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