NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An unpublished report prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends current and “evolving hot spots” in multiple states, including Tennessee, mandate the public use of face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The information was revealed in a document, dated July 14, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom based in Washington D.C. The report suggests more than a dozen states should revert to stronger protective measures, limiting social gatherings to ten people or fewer, closing bars and gyms and asking residents to wear masks at all times.
The document identifies Tennessee as one of 18 states in the “red zone” for COVID-19 cases, which means they had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. The report reveals Tennessee had 155 new cases per 100,000 population in the past week, compared to the national average of 119 per 100,000.
Nineteen counties in Tennessee were listed in the “red zone” for new coronavirus cases. The top 12 were Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Bradley, Sevier, Hamblen, Macon, Robertson, Bedford, Dyer, Lauderdale and Smith counties.
Other recommendations include:
- Continue weekly testing of all workers in assisted living and long-term care facilities and require masks and social distancing for all visitors.
- Mandate public use of masks in all current and evolving hot spots.
- Close bars and in hot spot counties.
- Move to outdoor dining and limit indoor dining to less than 25%; decrease gathering limits to 10.
- Encourage individuals that have participated in large social gatherings to get tested.
- Increase messaging of the risk of serious disease in all age groups with preexisting medical conditions, including obesity, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
- Continue the scale-up of testing, moving to community led neighborhood testing and pooled household testing in the Memphis, Knoxville, Nashville and other red zone metro areas.
- Test households in one tube with rapid turnaround testing. For households that test positive, isolate and conduct follow-up
- Work with local communities to provide clear guidance for households that test positive, including individual isolation.
- Continue to enhance contact tracing and ensure the ability of cases and contacts to quarantine or isolate safely. Monitor
testing data to identify additional sites of increased transmission and focus public health resources on them.
- Expand testing capacity in Public Health labs, adding shifts and weekend shifts to decrease turnaround times. Institute 2:1
pooling of test specimens.
- Specific, detailed guidance on community mitigation measures can be found on the CDC website.
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