Thanksgiving Surge Expected, CDC Issues Updated Quarantine Guidelines, County Masking Order Extended Through December 12th – News Release from Henry County Office of Emergency Management and Safety

(PARIS, TN )– With the Thanksgiving Holiday ending this past weekend, a new surge in positive cases is expected here locally and across the nation within the next couple of weeks due to holiday gatherings. This is the
message being given by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Henry County remains “red” on the task force state map meaning a COVID-19 spread rate of 10.1% or higher.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee met with Vice-President Mike Pence at FedEx in Memphis yesterday along with other federal and state officials to discuss Tennessee being one of the first states to receive COVID-19 vaccine for our frontline healthcare professionals. The state announced 11 counties in Tennessee, mostly metro areas, would be first to receive around 57,000 doses of vaccine with the rest of the state to follow as soon as additional doses were ready, hopefully within a matter of weeks. Front line healthcare workers will be the first to receive vaccine. FedEx will assist in the distribution of vaccine on a national and international level partnership with the Federal Government.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to remain high here locally and regionally. Henry County Medical Center reported 10 COVID-19 inpatients on Thursday and 6 positive out-patients. County COVID-19 related
death toll now stands at 21 up from 18 earlier in the week.

New County Mayor John Penn Ridgeway is extending the county masking requirement for another seven days through December 12th. Mayor Ridgeway said, “After examining our most recent COVID numbers this week, our Henry County community is now at 20.57 average new cases per day for the past seven days. This is greater than the average of Tennessee, so we have to do our part to reduce the number of positive cases and help slow the spread of this virus. Our medical community is stretched, our educators and students are suffering from the continued interruptions. I know our citizens are weary and tired of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but I ask you to continue to wear a mask for other people in our community as well as yourself. Remember to THINK POSITIVE and TEST NEGATIVE.”

The Center for Disease Control has issued new guidelines for quarantine due to COVID exposure. According to Dr. Scott Whitby, Physician at Eastwood Clinic and Chairman of the Henry County Medical Center Board of
Trustee’s, “ This is what I understand in regard to the CDC’s new conditional quarantine advice:
1. Quarantine for known infection is unchanged and remains 10 days as long as improving and no fever on day 10.
2. Fourteen days quarantine is still best for a known exposure.
3. Ten days is accepted instead of 14 with the understanding that 14 is best and provided there are no symptoms during that time
4. Seven days is accepted if a negative test can be done and available within 48 hours of the 7th day of quarantine (ie, on day 5 or 6)…and of course no symptoms during that time
5. Patients opting for the abbreviated 7 or 10 day period should continue to observe for symptoms through 14 days even after their quarantine period.”

Local Healthcare Professionals and City and County officials continue to urge citizens to follow basic precautions which are still the best defense against COVID-19 if you must leave your home.
• Wearing a mask or face covering when you leave the house or visit a gathering. Be sure to keep one in your car in the event you forget. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.
• Keeping 6 feet of distance in public, while also wearing a mask or face covering.
• Continuing to disinfect high-touch surfaces. Remember to wipe down your cell phone, doorknobs, remote controls and other frequently used objects.
•Washing your hands regularly throughout the day. Wash your hands for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer if water and soap are unavailable.

The Henry County Health Dept continues to provide free COVID testing Monday – Friday from 8:30AM to 10:30 AM by appointment only. Over the past seven days, the county averaged 80.6 tests per day with a 24.3% positivity rate and is reporting 162 active cases in our community.