‘Faulty data’ used to issue mask mandate according to lawsuit against Knox County, health dept. and health board

Two Knox County doctors have filed suit, claiming the county, its health department and its health board relied on 'faulty data' to issue Knox County's mask mandate.
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:49 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 12:07 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Two Knox County doctors have filed suit, claiming the county, its health department and its health board relied on ‘faulty data’ to issue Knox County’s mask mandate.

According to court documents obtained by WVLT News, Dr. Steven J. Smith and Dr. Jason J. Hall filed the suit in Chancery Court on July 24 against Knox County, the Knox County Health Department, its director, Dr. Martha Buchanan, the Knox County Board of Health, and its Chair, Jack Gotcher.

The suit claims the county “relied on faulty data which includes false positives for the support and adoption” of the mandate. The health department said Wednesday that false-positive test results are counted as positive because there is no way to determine which test was correct. This means if a person takes two tests and one is negative and one is positive, the department counts it as positive.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged their rights afforded under the Tennessee constitution were violated by the defendants. Court documents show both Knox County doctors are asking for the ‘nullification, voidance, revocation, or any other relief deemed fit by the Court.”

Knox County issued the mandate July 1, which went into effect July 3. It faced opposition from some, including Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs who said “mandates such as this set a terrible precedent for government overreach.”

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The health board said Wednesday night that data shows the mask mandate appeared to be leading to a plateau in COVID-19 cases in the county.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, who is also a member of the Board of Health, warned the board of the pending lawsuit during Wednesday’s July 29 Board of Health meeting.

Jacobs called an executive session set for Monday to discuss the lawsuit.

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