Health officials look at next steps in COVID-19 pandemic

JACKSON, Tenn. — We now have 861 total COVID-19 cases in Madison County.

The Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department also reported two additional deaths since Friday.

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On Sunday, they reported a 53-year-old man died. On Monday, they confirmed the death of an 88-year-old man.

But now health officials say they’re worried about the pictures and videos of people in bars and clubs without masks.

“They’re shoulder-to-shoulder in some of these places. You may not feel like you are at risk. You are, and when you go back to your families, to your parents, your grandparents, you could be carrying COVID back to them,” health department director Kim Tedford said.

Jackson-Madison County General Hospital had 93 COVID-positive patients at 10 a.m. Monday, and say they are continuing to modify their systems.

“It is concerning. We are having to look at that type of situation on a day in, day out basis,” West Tennessee Healthcare CEO James Ross said.

The mask mandate for Madison County has been in effect for three weeks now. During Monday’s press conference, WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reporter Josh Robinson asked director Kim Tedford when we should see those positive case counts start to decrease.

“I’m not seeing any effects from the mask mandate as of yet because our numbers keep going up,” Tedford said.

Now city and county leaders are trying to figure out what the next steps should be.

“It’s comes down to authority and ability to enforce, and trying to figure out what we can do and how we can do it,” Jackson Mayor Scott Conger said. “We aren’t just sitting around waiting. Understand that. We’re trying to figure out a way to do it.”

As the number of deaths from COVID-19 complications continue to rise, health officials say they hope people will start taking the situation seriously.

“One death is too many, but 14 is certainly too many. I get so tired of people saying the mortality rate’s low. It may be low, but if you’re one of those 14 people’s family members, it’s not low to them,” Tedford said.

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The UT-TSU Extension office will also be holding another free mask giveaway Tuesday morning at Greater St. Luke Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 117 Wallace Road.

Tedford also says the health department has been in constant communication with both public and private schools to give them all the information they need to keep both students and teachers safe when school starts back.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News