Rural counties see a spike in COVID-19 cases


MACON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s no doubt Macon County Mayor Steve Jones is concerned about the health of area residents. And he admits, social distancing fatigue set in.

“For us to have 409 positive cases, that’s a lot. We got lax I think. All of us did, even myself,” said Mayor Jones.

Governor Bill Lee referenced Macon, Rutherford, Bradley, and Sevier counties in a briefing Wednesday noting the drastic increase in COVID-19 cases.

“In rural counties, the people sometimes don’t look at it as seriously as they should,” explained Jones.

Mass gatherings, including several church revivals, seemed to put people at an increased risk. In response, Macon County has scaled back closing county buildings to public access.

“Our county clerks office is closed. Six out of seven employees had tested positive,” said Jones, “About six cases at the highway department, so we had to close that. Our circuit court clerk had to cancel cases there.”

Just as the positive numbers jumped, so has testing.

“They’ve been doing close to 100 tests a day, and that’s a lot,” said Jones, “The National Guard has sent in some of the med teams to help them.”

The Mayor encourages everyone to social distance and wears a mask. But when it comes to a mandate, Jones said, “I support the governor in what he has to do. I guess the mayors like to see the governor take it on his shoulders so we don’t have to. But, that’s part of our jobs.”

And to the people living in Macon County, Mayor Jones is confident in their ability to flatten the curve.

“It’s a different world that we’re living in, but we’re going to get through this together.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


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