Commissioners debate responsibility of quarantined homes in Carter County

Director of the TLC Community Center Angie Odom came before commissioners Tuesday evening to further discuss what she perceives to be a lack of action surrounding her recent investigations into quarantined homes in Carter County.

“This is still a concern,” Odom said.

The meeting followed her presentation during October’s full commission meeting, in which she said roughly 26 of the 30-plus homes on the state-mandated quarantine list still had occupants in them.

The responsibility of enforcing the quarantine falls under the Sheriff’s Department, but Odom said a lack of response from them prompted her to take the issue to both the full commission and Tuesday’s committee meetings.

“It is expensive,” Brad Johnson said of the undertaking necessary to resolve the issue. “I can see why the Sheriff’s Department cannot do it. They do not have the personnel.”

Discussion then shifted to figuring out ways to get around the staffing issue and better let homeowners know their property is under quarantine, as the commission has no supervisory authority over the Sheriff’s Department.

“The school system is looking over this list as well,” Mike Hill said.

Aaron Frazier said she could cross-reference her list with the school department, who can then get the list to the Sheriff’s Department to give them advanced knowledge.

“If children are in those homes, they are at risk,” Ray Lyons said. “The thing you need to do is immediately report it to the Department of Child Services.”

Hill suggested pitching this information to the school resource officers who interact with the affected children on a daily basis.

“There has to be some way to get at the families,” Hill said.

Odom said she believes the Sheriff’s Department needs to be the ones who send the reminders and notices about the homes being under quarantine.

“We first need to contact the homeowners and see if they have a certificate of fitness,” Austin Jaynes said.

He expressed concern that going around accusing people of violating quarantine laws would simply compel them to move out of Carter County altogether.

The committee recommended Captain Tom Smith come back for next month’s meeting with a more detailed plan of how to proceed with the issue.

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