Officials brace for COVID holiday surge, 1,008 cases now active in Madison Co.

JACKSON, Tenn. — In the last week, Madison County has seen nine people die of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths to 101. And currently, the health department is following over 1,000 active cases, which is the highest number yet.

Jackson General Hospital

“It’s a little alarming to me,” said Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department Regional Director Kim Tedford.

As people gather for Thanksgiving, West Tennessee Healthcare and other systems are bracing for the influx of sick patients that will follow.

“You may not see effects from the gatherings for a week or two, ten days to two weeks,” Tedford said.

“So we’re bumping right around Christmas time, and then families are going to be gathering again for Christmas,” said Amy Garner, chief compliance and communication officer for West Tennessee Healthcare.

Their strategy this time is to raise awareness before the holiday, encouraging people to think twice about plans.

“This idea of ‘what-about-me-ism,’ we’ve got to put that to the side,” said Jackson Mayor Scott Conger. “We’ve got to think about our family members, our friends, and how we’re affecting them if we’re an asymptomatic carrier.”

After the holiday, they’re encouraging you to work from home as much as possible.

The county-wide mask mandate is still in effect until the end of the year. We asked officials if they have any regrets with repealing the mask mandate, and then having to re-implement it.

“Yeah. We probably should have left it in place,” Tedford said. “That’s a hard decision anyway. Part of you wants to think as responsible adults, we’re going to do the right thing without having to do a mask mandate.”

“I think I’ll let you all be the judge of and critique us on past decisions,” Mayor Conger said. “I don’t think it does us any good to be armchair quarterbacks for past decisions. What we can do is look at decisions going forward and what we can learn from that.”

“I don’t really regret rescinding the mandate,” said Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris. “I don’t because we said from the front-end why we were doing this, because of our cases and our hospitalizations, we need to get that in check. We got that in check over a period of time.”

Currently, Jackson General has 97 COVID-positive patients, and West Tennessee Healthcare has 200 nurse positions open.

Health officials are also expecting COVID vaccines to be available to healthcare workers as soon as mid-December.

They are currently making plans for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News