GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt has extended the county’s order that requires masks and facial coverings to be worn in public through February.
Holt announced the extension Wednesday after Gov. Bill Lee extended Tennessee’s state of emergency -- which allows county mayors to implement a mask mandate -- through February. Gov. Lee has resisted continued calls to issue a statewide mask order.
“Sumner County is still experiencing a substantial increase in the number of active COVID-19 cases. After continued discussions with local hospital administrators, health professionals, and our local Health Department, I have decided that it is in the best interest for the safety of our citizens to extend the Executive Order to wear face coverings in public places in Sumner County,” Holt wrote on Wednesday.
Under the order, customers and employees of businesses are required to wear masks in public settings. Middle and high school students are also required to wear masks at school facilities, while elementary students are "strongly encouraged" to wear facial coverings. Click here to read more about exemptions.
Holt said mitigating the spread is crucial to keeping businesses and schools open, along with preventing hospital capacity issues.
The new order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 29 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 27 unless it’s canceled or extended before then.
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COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES IN TENNESSEE
What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.
What are the symptoms?
The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following symptoms:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.
The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.