COVID-19 Task Force holds discussion on masks in schools

JACKSON, Tenn. — Community leaders are coming together as the Madison County COVID-19 Task Force, and are making an important decision regarding the school district.

West Tennessee Healthcare reports 141 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized as of Wednesday morning.

Of those, 54 are on ventilators and 49 are in the ICU.

The Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department reports there are over 2,000 active COVID-19 cases in the county.

The department says they are seeing an average of over 100 positive cases a day.

“We’re planning for about two months surge. This time, I’d say that we have had a slight trend downward in our hospitalizations, but not in community testing. It’s still been elevated,” said Dr. Jackie Taylor, with West Tennessee Healthcare.

As cases rise, staff and spacing are becoming more of an issue.

“We have decreased our surgical capacity in order to handle ICU patients, and unfortunately our ICU is full,” said Amy Garner, Chief Compliance and Communications Officer for West Tennessee Healthcare.

And concern for the number of kids testing positive is growing.

“This is a very different virus. Much more deadly. It is killing people at a faster rate, and more than the last one, they just, they just chews up their lungs. We’re spoiling the tragedy. We’re seeing younger people, seeing in our pediatrics, patients are going up,” Taylor said. “Mothers are not going home to their children. I think about that. That shouldn’t happen.”

As part of the Madison County COVID-19 Task Force resolution, the Jackson-Madison County School System says they are going to do their part to reverse the trend and mitigate the spread.

“Starting Tuesday, Sept. 6 through Friday, Oct. 1, we know that masks have been optional, but now they will be required,” said Greg Hammond, Chief of Staff and Information for JMCSS.

Parents will be able to opt out of the district wide mandate, complying with Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order.

The task force advises people the best tool against the virus is the vaccine.

“It works, it saves lives. Yes, most people don’t die, most people don’t go to the hospital, but if it’s you who does, it’s your family member, that number is more significant than any other odds out there,” Taylor said.

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Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News