PARIS, TN – With the announcement that Gov. Bill Lee granted local authority to each county to declare mask mandates, Henry Countians are wondering what requirements will be made of them as cases of COIVD-19 continue to spike across the state and West TN.
On a call Monday, members of government and the medical community discussed Gov. Lee’s executive orders from July 3 and what circumstances would create the need for Paris and Henry County for required masking to be ordered. Based on surveillance by the state looking at our region and county as well as surveillance being done by the medical community, all agreed at this time, if the community continues to follow social distancing, good hand hygiene, gather in small groups, and wear masks where appropriate, a mask mandate will not be a necessity for our community.
“It is so important that our community continue to adhere to masking if possible, washing hands frequently, and social distancing at least six feet as much as possible,” said Lisa Casteel, CEO at Henry County Medical Center. “We have done well in our county, doing our part to make sure that our healthcare system has not been overwhelmed. But, the threat is not over and we need to not give up these practices to ensure that we continue to stay healthy and avoid having to require masking like Jackson, Nashville, Memphis, Gatlinburg, and other locations across the state. It truly is about ‘what’s in the numbers’ and us continuing to monitor them.”
Henry County did see a spike in cases going into the holiday weekend, but, the curve has gone down this week. As of July 8, there have been 47 positive cases in Henry County, with 39 of those cases recovered. The city, county, and medical community are reviewing the EpiCurve information available on the TN Dept. of Health website to determine when a mandate should occur. It is available at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data/epi-curves.html. As of July 8, Henry County is below the threshold average of new cases per day for the state. If rates see an increase and begin approaching the threshold, a masking mandate will be considered for the city and county.
Henry County Mayor Brent Greer is confident our county can continue the trend of slow spread if we can remain vigilant. “I am asking our residents and businesses to continue to use masks and all precautions while in public to slow Coronavirus spread. It is vital for our schools to be in a position to open in the fall and for our local government, businesses and industry partners to remain open. We do not want to have to take a step back. The threat continues to be real.”
As we continue through the summer months and begin the new school year, it will continue to be so important that we ensure #COVIDStopsWithMe by following the recommended guidelines by the CDC, the TN Dept. of Health, and our city and county leaders. This includes the following:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact and maintain 6 feet distance between you and others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Monitor your health daily and be alert for symptoms and take your temperature.
“Superheroes fight for the good of all people,” said Dr. Norma Gerrell, Director of Schools, Paris Special School District. “Let’s show our students that we are germ fighters and mask up so that we can get back to school on August 3. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth face coverings are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.”
“On behalf of the HCSS, we need our community’s help,” said Leah Watkins, Director of Schools, Henry County School System. “Let’s do our part to keep our community and our students safe. By adhering to mask recommendations now, you help to increase the likelihood of our students returning to school on time and without masks. We need you Henry County! “
Help all of us in Henry County and the region continue to stay safe and avoid a spike in COVID-19 by following the recommended guidelines because #COVIDStopsWithMe. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider.
To learn more, go to our website at www.hcmc-tn.org or go to the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ index.html. To view the Epicurve for Henry County, go to https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data/epi-curves.
HCMC will continue to post information about our county and region related to COVID-19 daily on our social media sites and our website.
Located in Paris, TN, Henry County Medical Center is a progressive, integrated healthcare organization committed to serving the healthcare needs of Henry County and the adjoining region. Including a 142-bed hospital and other facilities, the medical center provides a variety of outpatient services, as well as inpatient care. Additionally, HCMC owns and operates 7 provider clinics in various specialties. Henry County Medical Center is a county-owned and operated nonprofit institution. For more information: www.hcmc-tn.org.