KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The mask mandates for Grainger and Hamblen counties will remain in effect for at least another month.

On Tuesday, Grainger County Mayor Mike Byrd extended his county’s mandate through Jan. 31 and Bill Brittain extended Hamblen County’s mandate through Feb. 27.

“We continue to see a high volume of new COVID-19 cases throughout the county,” Byrd said. “Not only is the wearing of face coverings important, I continue to recommend social distancing, washing hands/sanitizing frequently, and avoiding large crowds as measures to help control the virus.”

From Dec. 14-27, Grainger County saw an average of more than 27 new cases per day, according to county Health Department Director Garnet Southerland.

The Grainger County Health Department offers COVID-19 testing at no charge to anyone who wishes to be tested.

In Brittain’s executive order extending Hamblen County’s mandate, he says the community needs to make every effort to control the spread of the virus to keep schools open, to protect senior adults, and keep health care workers healthy.