Officials discuss new health department recommendations, grading standards

JACKSON, Tenn. — Health officials reported a 15.8 percent positivity rate among COVID-19 testing in Madison County Wednesday morning. That’s one of the highest in the state.

Screen Shot 2020 09 16 At 2.32.26 Pm

At the same time, cases and hospitalizations in the county are going down, and school is set to be back in the classroom next week.

But now we have new recommendations from the health department to prevent a future hospital overload.

School is almost back in session, but after being away from the classroom for six months, there are some concerns.

“I’m speaking from this point as a dad, not as a superintendent,” said Marlon King, the Jackson-Madison County School System Superintendent.

King said they are taking extra steps to make sure children succeed this school year.

“Students will not be issued an F. They’ll get an incomplete. We can’t hold kids accountable, and we can’t hold families accountable when we don’t have that cadence of accountability and we have things on our end that we have to correct,” he said.

They plan on revisiting standards kids didn’t get to back in the spring, but they need you to work with them and stay patient.

“Grace is reciprocal. The families have extended grace to work with us, and we have extended grace on our end,” King said.

And as fall approaches, so does the flu season.

“I will encourage people to get their flu vaccine,” said Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Director Kim Tedford.

Tedford said the flu vaccine is even more important this year, but not because it prevents coronavirus. It doesn’t.

However, keeping people from getting the flu may prevent a double surge on the healthcare system.

“You’re already operating in a surge capacity due to the COVID patients that you’re seeing, and you’re adding flu patients on top of that. Then, like she said, it’s just going to create a storm that we don’t want to weather,” Tedford said.

They also don’t want hospital workers to get sick because that means they can’t work.

“We need all hands on deck during flu season, just like we do right now,” said Amy Garner, Chief Compliance and Communications Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare.

The health department said they’ll let us know when their shots are ready, but some pharmacies are already providing it.

Tedford also said they are making preparations for a vaccine. Since we are nine days out from Labor Day, they are still waiting for the cases to arise out of that.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News