Now is not the time to relax COVID-19 precautions

Published 2:04 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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Locally, we have seen the number of COVID-19 cases increase in Carter County. As of Tuesday, there were seven active cases in Carter County. Carter County has had 22 cases of COVID-19, which is relatively low in comparison to most of the Northeast Tennessee area.
However, the Carter County Health Department reported Tuesday it is investigating a case linked to the Carter County Courthouse Annex and is asking those who visited the annex June 15, 16, or 17 to monitor their health during the next 14 days.
Until last week there had been few new cases, but within the last few days the number has spiked. One source credits the rise in cases to people traveling out-of-state to Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Florida.
The spike in cases is proof that we must continue to be vigilant in our fight to contain the virus, which means frequent hand washing, wearing masks in public, and staying out of large crowds.
It has been noted that downtown Elizabethton is packed for the Saturday evening car shows, but very few people are wearing masks, which could make it a hot spot for the virus if someone contaminated shows up.
The coronavirus danger is not going away, and the relaxing of restrictions shouldn’t be taken as a sign to relax on precautions. As has been seen across the country, COVID-19 can spike again.
Twenty-three states, including Tennessee, saw increases in cases last week and 10 states reported their highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases per day since the crisis began.
People should continue to wear masks while out in public. Hands should be washed frequently. If you are not feeling well, stay home.
The last thing anyone wants to see is a spike in cases that negates all of the hard work and sacrifices that have been made so far.
The reality is that most of the nation is still unprepared for the spread of a microbe we don’t fully understand and cannot see. The virus has upended normal life, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
We hope that a year from now we can look back on this moment as the point we got the upper hand in the coronavirus outbreak. But for now, it seems wise to plan for the long haul — for more infections, more cancellations, more social distancing, wearing masks — and to respond by changing our lives cautiously, calmly, and responsibly.

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