Tennessee identifies 4 counties of concern for COVID-19

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 reported across Tennessee Wednesday, Governor Bill Lee singled out four counties with the biggest increase in cases over the past week.

Gov. Lee and Dr. Lisa Piercey from the Department of Health are very concerned with the increase of cases and said Tennesseans need double down on flattening the curve.

One county Gov. Lee mentioned is Rutherford County, where cases are up nearly 20%. Other counties with the highest increase are Macon, Sevier and Bradley counties.

The growth in cases is not limited to densely populated areas. Macon County has just over 400 cases, an increase of 74% from just one week ago.

“If you are a resident of one of these counties, or any county in Tennessee, I encourage you to make time this week to get a test at your local health dept. Stay home whenever possible. Don’t put our steps two steps backward by refusing to wear a mask or refusing to social distance or refusing to pay attention to something as simple as washing your hands,” explained Gov. Lee.

Earlier this week, county leaders said they do not have the authority to mandate masks or facial coverings in public, only in government buildings. But that could soon change.

MORE: Mayors explain why there’s no mask mandate in Rutherford County

Gov. Lee said he is exploring local mask mandate options in areas hit the hardest. The state wants everyone to stop taking unnecessary risks.

“People are much more likely than they were in the past when they are out and about trying to quote ‘get back to normal.’ Please listen carefully. This is not the time to get back to normal. We’re all experiencing what we call quarantine fatigue. But I can guarantee you, this virus is not getting tired,” said Dr. Piercey.

The record increase in cases has Gov. Lee considering all options as the state continues to battle virus.

Go. Lee said Tennesseans are taking unnecessary risks like packing into bars or gathering in large groups. He is urging everyone to remember to wear a mask and remain home when possible so the state can get back on track.

Another concern is hospital capacity as hospitals are seeing more patients admitted for COVID-19. Although capacity numbers remain stable in Metro areas like Memphis and Nashville, state leaders are still planning for surges and alternative care sites.

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

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