A look in the rearview mirror… COVID-19 looks much different in the county today
BY IVAN SANDERS
It was almost one year ago and the COVID-19 pandemic was raging not only in Carter County but throughout the region and nation.
The cases had become so numerous and testing was being conducted at a break-neck pace that the labs that were processing those tests were backed up and taking a few days to return results.
The Carter County Health Department was looking for a way to provide testing to the community where people could remain in their vehicles and get tested if they believed they had the virus or had come in contact with someone who had.
A large tent was set up in the First Baptist Church parking lot across from the main church lot and across from the Health Department.
The tent was provided with electric power so that a large amount of COVID-19 testing could be performed for citizens of the community.
Now, as the pandemic seems to be dwindling number-wise with the increased number of vaccinations, Carter County Health Department Director Caroline Hurt took a moment to reflect back almost 12 months when the testing began and how the County Health Department is moving forward with further testing.
“During this time, we have been through a first-in-our-lifetime pandemic response partnership to provide testing, and now vaccination, to the public – whew!!,” said Hurt recently. “The Carter County Health Department is now positioned to move all of our COVID-19 services inside our health department building.
“We are certainly able to make appointments for testing and vaccination, but residents can simply drive up and park in our spaces at the Health Department toward the gazebo/park, call in at 423-543-2521, Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:00, and request these services which we’ll be glad to provide curbside or inside the building if the weather is bad.”
As the testing will be moving back inside the Health Department building, the tent will come down, the electric pole that was installed by Elizabethton Electric will be removed, the Elizabethton Police Department’s Mobile Command Center will be taken back to its storage site, and the asphalt where the pole was will be repaired.
Hurt said it was almost impossible to come up with words to express thanks to everyone who stepped up to the plate during the critical time for Carter County and aid in helping the Health Department provided the needed testing to protect the health of the people of Carter County.
“I am without adequate words to express how deeply I appreciate the Mayor’s office, EMA, EPD, Rob Toney with the Elizabethton Electric Company, and Todd Hallman, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Elizabethton,” Hurt said. “Thank you all for your constant support, your partnerships, and your prayers – it has sustained us through so very much!”