Knox County Board of Health to vote on potential further restrictions Monday
The Knox County Board of Health agreed Friday to meet Monday to vote on possible further restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the county.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Board of Health agreed Friday to meet Monday at 5 p.m. to vote on possible further restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the county.
Dr. Martha Buchanan, head of the Knox County Health Department, showed data to other board members, saying, “These are the worst numbers we’ve seen.”
Some recommendations to Tennessee were a mask mandate and reducing capacity in restaurants and other businesses. She added, “We’re not suggesting we close everything down,” but added they did want to look at what they could possibly do.
The board discussed measures taken by other states and other counties, such as Kentucky. Two days ago, Kentucky placed added restrictions that limits small gatherings to 8 or less until December 13.
“We are not going to be Kentucky,” said Dr. Patrick O’Brien. He added that they needed more enforcement options.
The board agreed to call another emergency meeting to vote on potential restrictions, such as possibly setting a curfew for alcohol sales to 9 p.m. and reducing restaurant capacity. Dr. Buchanan said the mask mandate was not going away.
Capacity at hospitals is worse, officials said. Dr. James Shamiyeh, with the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said they were at a lower capacity than they had been at the height of flu season.
The rise in cases has been reflected in schools, according to Knox County Schools Health Services Supervisor Lisa Wagoner. “Cases have risen significantly in the schools,” she said.
Where could resurgence be coming from? Dr. Patrick O’Brien showed data surveying where people were going during the reopening in May. According to him, the top of that list showed restaurants, gyms and cafes. “A lot of restaurants, a lot of fitness facilities,” he said. He added that people were also going to schools and religious services, but they had no plans on limiting any religious services. He said that the data didn’t look at private gatherings, only businesses.
Officials also talked about the status of vaccines, saying that both the Moderna and Pzifer vaccines are two-dose vaccines. After the first dose, you wait 21-28 days for the second dose, which they called a “booster dose.”
However, there’s no idea about when it will be available to the general public. According to Buchanan, the vaccine will be distributed first to first responders and healthcare workers on the frontlines.
As of Friday, November 20, there were 3,444 additional cases, 2,034 hospitalizations and 74 additional deaths adding to a total of 4,202.
Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.