On Monday, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger ordered a county-wide mandate requiring people to wear face masks in public to help mitigate a spike in positive cases. Hamilton County is adjacent to Bradley County, where a mask requirement has not been ordered, as of yet.
Last week, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54, which granted county mayors in 89 counties the authority to issue local mask requirements in the event of a significant rise in COVID-19 cases.
"There are a few things that we can do to prevent this virus," Coppinger said during a press conference Monday afternoon. "One, as we talked about, is social distancing. The other one is effective personal hygiene, we talked about washing hands. And lastly — what we believe to be one of the most effective means — which is by wearing facial coverings or masks."
"By taking this action we're hopeful it will minimize the number of active cases, the numbers of hospitalizations."
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis told the Cleveland Daily Banner on Saturday that he has no plans to mandate the wearing of face masks for now.
“I strongly agree with the governor in encouraging and issuing a strong recommendation to wear a face mask anytime out in the public,” Davis said, adding that following the six-foot rule, avoiding crowds and practicing good hygiene are important in avoiding spreading the virus. “Those are the best things to do.”
But, Davis will stop short of issuing a mandate “at this time.”
“Not today,” he said.
During Monday night's Bradley County Commission meeting, Davis did announce effective today anyone entering a county-government office will be asked to wear a mask; however, it will not be a requirement. (See related story on Page 1 of today's edition.)
As of Monday, 52,155 individuals in Tennessee have tested positive for COVID-19, resulting 653 deaths, 2,897 hospitalizations and 31,020 recoveries.
In Bradley County, 745 have tested positive, with 390 recoveries and a fourth death — which has been previously reported by the Cleveland Daily Banner — has now been confirmed by the Tennessee Department of Health.
Confirmed case totals for Bradley County neighbors include:
• Grundy: 61 cases, 50 recoveries and 1 death;
• Hamilton: 2,804 cases, 1,855 recoveries and 35 deaths;
• Marion: 74 cases, 47 recoveries and 4 deaths;
• McMinn: 239 cases, 168 recoveries and 18 deaths;
• Meigs: 32 cases, 27 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Monroe: 141 cases, 103 recoveries and 7 deaths;
• Polk: 46 cases, 32 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Rhea: 285 cases, 245 recoveries and 0 deaths; and
• Sequatchie: 41 cases, 26 recoveries and 0 deaths.
Counties with Tennessee's highest numbers of cases include:
• Bedford: 570 cases, 418 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Bledsoe: 621 cases, 612 recoveries and 1 death;
• Davidson: 11,205 cases, 6,776 recoveries and 121 deaths;
• Knox: 1,209 cases, 641 recoveries and 8 deaths;
• Lake: 694 cases, 688 recoveries and 0 deaths;
• Montgomery: 567 cases, 209 recoveries and 7 deaths;
• Putnam: 906 cases, 643 recoveries and 7 deaths;
• Robertson: 839 cases, 512 recoveries and 11 deaths;
• Rutherford: 3,040 cases, 1,353 recoveries and 35 deaths;
• Shelby: 11,936 cases, 7,484 recoveries and 201 deaths;
• Sumner: 1,636 cases, 659 recoveries and 52 deaths;
• Trousdale: 1,498 cases, 1,425 recoveries and 5 deaths;
• Williamson: 1,340 cases, 581 recoveries and 15 deaths; and
• Wilson: 963 cases, 450 recoveries and 17 deaths.
According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Tuesday morning, more than 2.9 million individuals in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, with 130,306 deaths and 924,148 recoveries.
Globally, 11.6 million individuals have tested positive, resulting in 538,788 deaths and more than 6.3 million recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins.
Physicians Care walk-in urgent care is now offering on-site COVID-19 testing to employers in Cleveland.
Ellis Harris, Physicians Care division vice president, said early detection through on-site testing can help reduce the spread of the virus and maintain a productive workforce.
“We recognize many employers are eager to bring their employees back to work as safely as possible and COVID-19 testing is a major step toward this goal,” Harris said.
Harris said Physicians Care offers the polymerase chain reaction test to indicate if someone is positive for the virus.
“This nasal swab test can detect viral RNA, which will be in the body before antibodies form or symptoms are present,” Harris said. “In addition, Physicians Care offers the antibody test to inform if you have had COVID-19 in the past.”
Employers interested in on-site testing for their employees should contact, Physicians Care Director of Operations Beverly Lovelady at 423-488-3531.
For more information about Physicians Care, visit PhyCare.net