Local officials resist another lockdown, but push for masks statewide

JACKSON, Tenn. — As we finish the first week of August and start the fifth month of COVID-19 news conferences, case numbers are still going up.

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“It would be so easy if people would just do the right thing,” said Kim Tedford, regional director of the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department.

Madison County saw another 35 positive cases of COVID-19 Friday, and another death in the county: a 44-year-old female died Thursday.

“We can hope and pray the numbers go down,” Tedford said. “But, I don’t foresee that happening until we have some consistency across the state.”

Since we keep seeing the numbers go up in Madison County, are city leaders thinking about going back into lockdown phases?

“The reality is if we put restrictions in place, the only thing we’re going to do is hurt business owners and employees because there are no restrictions in every county around us,” said Jackson Mayor Scott Conger. “So it would just change the point of origin of spread.”

Tedford, Conger, Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris, and other West Tennessee leaders met with the COVID-19 unified command this week to express concerns specific to West Tennessee.

They want consistency when it comes to a mask mandate across the state, and for the state to realize what happens when public health is put in charge of issuing mandates.

“When we went to the mask mandate, the governor put that on me to issue that mandate. Economics is not my specialty, health is my specialty,” Tedford said.

The West Tennessee State Fair has also been cancelled this year, however other rural fairs are still happening, and health leaders say it’s concerning.

“We pay the price for gatherings, for fairs,” Harris said.

Jackson-Madison County Schools has 7,540 students signed up for virtual and cyber school combined.

They are asking those students to dress appropriately and attend those classes in a common area in their home like a living room or dining room.

Now the school system is focusing on buses.

“We’re gonna pour through the numbers and kind of get down to the street level,” said JMCSS Chief of Staff Greg Hammond. “And try to figure out do we need to change how our buses run?”

The principals of the schools have been meeting for the past four weeks to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Principals were also tasked with identifying teachers that would be good prospects for teaching cyber school students.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News