County Mayor’s Notes – July 6th, 2020

Cumberland County COVID-19 Update
52 active cases (-3 from previous day)
183 positive cases (+2 from previous day)
127 recovered (+5 from previous day)
4 deaths officially reported (+0 from previous day)
14 hospitalizations (+0 from previous day) *
7,236 negative tests (+113)
2.47% percent of those that have been tested were positive
0.31% percent of residents have tested positive
0.09% percent of residents have active cases

These numbers are intended to be a brief summary of the information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health.  More detailed information can be found here.

* Hospitalization data reflect the cumulative (total) number of cases of Cumberland County residents that were ever hospitalized from COVID-19. It does not reflect the number of people currently hospitalized.  This does not mean the patient was hospitalized in Cumberland County.  It means that a Cumberland County resident was hospitalized at some point.

Masks (Face Coverings)
I know several medical professionals in the area.  I even have some good friends that spent several weeks treating COVID-19 patients in Italy at the height of the pandemic.  Their views on the effectiveness of wearing masks, and COVID-19 in general, are as varied as what you see nationally.  I also see that wide range of opinions in the emails and calls I receive, and in messages and posts on social media.  People in my family and in my church don’t always agree on this issue, and that’s ok.  We all need to respect those with differing views.  We are a community.

Personally, going forward, I will be more diligent about wearing my mask when I’m out and unable to properly social distance.  Why you might ask?  Well, why not?  If the experts that believe wearing masks help to prevent the spread are correct, then we may just avoid another shutdown or keep a family member from getting sick.  If those that believe masks are ineffective are correct, what have we lost?

Just before 6:00 PM on Friday, July 3, Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 54 giving County Mayors the authority to require masks or face coverings in the 89 counties with state run Health Departments.  Cumberland County is one of those 89.  Legally those Executive Orders have the effect of law. 

Here in Cumberland County, our cases are still quite low.  As you can see in the data above, the active cases as a raw number and as a percentage of our population remains low, as does our percent positive.  I’m sure we all want to keep it that way.

I believe in making data driven decisions.  The complete set of data I have available to me is the same set of data you have available to you (see the link above).  There are downloadable datasets, but detailed information at the county and community level is not shared with us by the State.  I don’t know where those that are positive live, or how they got sick.  I will continue to monitor the situation.

Looking past the numbers, I believe we all have freedom and a choice in how we react to the pandemic.  We have the freedom to choose to stay away from businesses that we feel are unsafe.  We have the freedom to believe it’s political.  We have freedom…at least here in Tennessee.

Although I will not be mandating the use of masks, I am encouraging all Cumberland Countians to use a mask or face covering following the Governor’s guidelines, to make sure to socially distance, and to wash your hands frequently.  You don’t have to.  You may not believe it will help.  But I believe it is worth a try. 

Health Department Testing and Cloth Masks
The local Health Department (1503 South Main Street) is conducting drive through testing, free of charge, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. No doctor’s order is required, and no appointment is necessary. Anyone can be tested regardless of symptoms.

Free cloth masks are available at the Health Department for those that want one. Stop by Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm to pick one up for each individual in your household.

Census
Cumberland County is, unfortunately, in second place in the Upper Cumberland in census response rates.  Putnam County has a response rate of 65.1% while Cumberland County is only at 59.8%.  Our response rate percentage is at a negative variance of 8.7 percent compared to 2010, so we are really behind.  August 11th is the official start of non-response follow up operations (door knocking) and October 31st marks the end of the census.

Please take the time complete your census by visiting www.2020Census.gov or calling 844-330-2020 to get counted today!  It matters.

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Thank you for being part of the solution and thank you for the opportunity to serve as your County Mayor. 

Allen Foster

Cumberland County Mayor
http://allenfoster.net