Tennessee Coronavirus: Blount County is not mandating masks despite double-digit rise in cases


MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Blount County had 33 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday — a 14.4% one-day increase — but Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell said Wednesday he is not mandating wearing masks.

There were 10 more new cases on Wednesday.

Blount county has had 272 COVID-19 cases with three deaths. Some 143 people have recovered from the virus, according to statistics released by the state on Wednesday.

Cases have increased 39% since July 1 when there were 188 cases.

Mitchell said he has been discussing Gov. Bill Lee’s Friday order that allows him to mandate masks with other mayors, businesses and citizens and “I have no plans at this time to issue a
mask mandate.”

He noted that “questions remain as to the guidelines on enforcement or legal implications of a mask mandate for our county, and even among those communities who have already issued a mask mandate.”

And he said “0.20% of our population has tested positive, 15 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19, and currently 0.089% of our population is considered active.”

However, he urged Blount Countians to take personal responsbility and wear a mask.

“Health officials from all over the country are urging the use of face coverings as a simple and effective way to continue protecting ourselves and others while moving about in the community. Personal responsibility will always be the best defense,” Mitchell said. “Let’s all do our part.”

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