There are currently 284 active cases of the coronavirus spread throughout Monroe County, as of Sunday’s update.
According to County Mayor Mitch Ingram, about half of the active cases are in people between 5 and 18 years old.
He delivered his thoughts on the COVID-19 situation in the county now that schools have been in session for three weeks.
“Dr. (DeAnna) McClendon and (Rodney) Boruff at Sweetwater Schools are doing everything they possibly can to encourage hygiene, wearing masks, those kind of things and they are sticking with their plan,” Ingram stated. “The county is trying to provide for them if they need any personal protective equipment or anything like that.”
The state has provided funding to add additional broadband throughout the county to assist in virtual learning.
“This is a challenge as we are in this (schools being reopened) for almost a month and hats off to the teachers,” expressed Ingram. “It has been a tremendous burden for the teachers just to prepare different categories and they are doing an outstanding job. Hopefully we can make it another month and see some positive trends (against the virus).”
He has concerns about the virus making a hard “comeback” during the next few months as the weather becomes colder.
“I spoke with the governor and November seems to be what he called the ‘nervous month’ because of flu season,” he stated. “It is certainly on everybody’s radar ... I think later on it will be a concern.”
According to Ingram, Gov. Bill Lee informed him that, as of now, the schools are at liberty to decide upon how to deal with those concerns, however the education commissioner would step in if needed.
“I know that the school system is working very hard and I think safety for the teachers, students and parents are the utmost priority for everyone,” he expressed. “The governor has stated that he believes the best education is in-person education but if we can’t make that work then we will look at other options. We are supporting the school systems. They have good leadership and an outstanding team so we are hanging in there with them.”
He noted the county has experienced three “peaks” so far after holidays.
“We kind of expect a peak around the second week of September (due to Labor Day) hopefully after that there won’t be any major changes,” he stated. “Tennessee is doing very well and our numbers here in the county are very consistent with the other averages across the state and other counties comparable to population.”
He noted that city mayors and board members have already started discussions about how to handle Halloween due to it being a major holiday, however, no decision has currently been made on that topic.