COVID: OR city manager positive; Cases, deaths on the rise

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson learned on Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

A city spokesperson said that Watson has”mild symptoms and no fever;” but is said to be “tired.”

It’s unclear when and where he was exposed to the virus.

The city is not aware of any other municipal employees who have been significantly affected, and Watson will quarantine at home for the next week.

“This underscores the city’s message of caution ahead of the holiday season,” Spokesperson Lauren Gray told ORT.

On Thursday, the City of Oak Ridge issued a press release that you can read on our website that said it is “alarmed” by the recently-recorded 12.5 percent positivity rate for COVID-19 in the Oak Ridge area, and wastewater testing shows the disease is present across the city.

In Oak Ridge, municipal officials, who don’t have the authority to require masks, urged residents to wear them. The city also asked people to practice social distancing. That generally means to stay at least six feet away from people who live outside your home.

The Anderson County Commission is expected to discuss COVID-19 when it meets Monday night at 6:30 pm both virtually and in person. Specifically, commissioners will dicuss a resolution similar to that passed last week by the Oak Ridge City Council to “strongly urge the public to take precautionary measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

County Mayor Terry Frank has the ability to issue a mask mandate to help try to stem the spread of the virus thanks to an Executive Order from Governor Bill Lee, but so far, has not exercised that option.

Over the weekend, the Tennessee Department of Health reported that there were 132 new, confirmed or probable cases of the coronavirus in Anderson County, bringing the county’s total since the beginning of the pandemic to 2359. The county also recorded four deaths since Friday’s update, and the death toll from COVID or complications from it, has risen to 23. 376 cases were active in Anderson County as of Sunday’s update.

Case counts continue to rise in Roane County as well, as 74 new cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 1974. Of those, 368 cases are active and the state reported three more deaths over the weekend in Roane County, where 14 people have lost their lives due to COVID.

Three more deaths were reported this weekend in Campbell County, where the total now stands at 20, 133 active cases were reported by the state in Campbell on Sunday.

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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