(December 18, 2020 PARIS, TN )– With the latest numbers showing Tennessee ranked number 1 in the country with highest COVID-19 spread rate per 100,000 population announced today, local health officials are extremely concerned we are on the brink of a major surge in positive COVID-19 cases. The Christmas and New Years Holiday could potentially result in the highest spread rate we have seen here locally. According to the December 15th New York Times, nearly half of the country’s top 20 fastest growing Coronavirus spread rates were Tennessee cities. Jackson is ranked at number 20 with the others mainly in East Tennessee. According to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, all but three of the state’s 95 counties are now “red” on the task force state map meaning a COVID-19 spread rate of 10.1% or higher.
Local hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to remain high here locally and regionally. Henry County Medical Center reported 5 county COVID-19 inpatients on Thursday and 4 positive out of county inpatients. County COVID-19 related death toll now stands at 28 up from 21 last week. Local Healthcare professionals and first responders are expected to receive the opportunity to receive the new Moderna COVID vaccine early next week into the week after Christmas as soon as the FDA gives final approval.
Henry County Mayor John Penn Ridgeway said, “After examining our most recent COVID numbers this week, our Henry County community is now at 30.14 average new cases per day for the past seven days. This is down some from a new county high of 36.43 average daily cases earlier in the week. The Christmas Holidays are here this week and hope will be coming with the arrival of a vaccine to slow the COVID-19 pandemic spread. However, it will take time for the vaccine to be available for all of us. Therefore, I am extending the Mask Requirement Order for Henry County through Dec. 26, 2020. We must remain vigilant and safe as this will not be an instant cure. Remain positive.”
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Ridgeway adds, “Now is the time to consider staying in as much as possible, wear masks when out, social distance and celebrate in nontraditional ways. We must remember the families who have lost loved ones to COVID 19. For our community that is now 28 lives lost. So start a new tradition and reach out to those who are missing family. So many people are not able to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones and some may be home alone. Reach out with a card, a phone call, a basket of groceries, a wave or a smile. Be There for Someone in Need This Week.”
Local Healthcare Professionals, City and County officials continue to urge citizens to follow basic precautions which are still the best defense against COVID-19 if you must leave your home.
- Wearing a mask or face covering when you leave the house or visit in a gathering. Be sure to keep one in your car in the event you forget. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.
- Keeping 6 feet of distance in public, while also wearing a mask or face covering.
- Continuing to disinfect high-touch surfaces. Remember to wipe down your cell phone, doorknobs, remote controls and other frequently used objects.
- Washing your hands regularly throughout the day. Wash your hands for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer if water and soap are unavailable.
The Henry County Health Dept continues to provide free COVID testing Monday – Friday from 8:30AM to 10:30 AM by appointment only. Over the past seven days, the county averaged 116 tests per day with a 22.4% positivity rate and is reporting 247 active cases in our community.