Gov. Bill Lee is allowing his “safer at home” order to expire at the end of the month, which means some types of Tennessee businesses will be allowed to reopen. But Bedford County officials stress that this does not mean the threat has passed.
“This does not mean a return to ‘normal,’” said County Mayor Chad Graham. “Things may not be ‘normal’ for a while to come, until we can have a better idea of how to protect ourselves from COVID-19 and know more about long-term immunity.”
The number of confirmed Bedford County COVID-19 cases has continued to rise and has not leveled off. The state is tracking cases by employer, and the state is in contact with employers statewide whenever an unusually high number of cases is tied to a single workplace. Graham and Bedford County Emergency Management Agency director Scott Johnson, who heads the county’s COVID-19 Task Force, are in frequent contact with the state to discuss the situation, and continue to review the best ways for the county to respond to it.
If Tennessee residents do not continue to practice social distancing, and take the threat seriously, that number could skyrocket, and the state might have to impose measures just as strict as, or even stricter than, the ones that are being relaxed.
“With our numbers continuing to rise, it’s clear there must still be aggressive containment measures in place.,” said Graham.
“Because some people can have, and spread, COVID-19 without symptoms, and because it is survivable for many otherwise-healthy adults, the actual impact of it hasn’t quite hit home. The measures taken during the past few weeks have no doubt reduced the number of cases, but some people are taking the wrong lesson from that and thinking that the disease wasn’t – and isn’t – a serious threat. It is a serious threat, and we have to continue to take it seriously even as we take steps to protect the economy.”
Even as businesses reopen, businesses and individual citizens are urged to continue to behave in responsible ways designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing and, when appropriate, face masks should not go away; if anything, it becomes more important for individuals to take responsibility for not spreading the disease.
For more information about COVID-19, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For information specific to Bedford County, call 931-735-6923 or go to https://www.asaferbedfordcountytn.org/.