KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon says she plans to keep renewing her “safer-at-home” order until there are more positive signs that the coronavirus pandemic can be managed.
Her resolve comes as some Tennessee lawmakers have begun to urge the governor to open up the state’s economy. The state stay-at-home order expires on Tuesday and Gov. Bill Lee has only said the state is studying the data about the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 100 people.
President Donald Trump said Friday he will announce on Tuesday the launch of the “Opening our Country” task force even as his health experts have cautioned now is no time to halt social distancing efforts.
“I want to get it open as soon as possible,” he said, “The facts are going to determine what I do.”.
The push to be open for business again comes as there are some hopeful signs. “In the midst of grief and pain, we’re seeing clear signs that our aggressive strategy is saving countless lives,” Trump said,
Responding Thursday to a question form a small business owner on a Facebook Live question-and-answer session, Kincannon said “I do anticipate extending the safer-at-home order for Knoxville and I also will be working closely with the governor and, obviously, the health department.
“I plan to renew the Knoxville safer-at-home order. I just renewed it Monday and will continue to renew it every week … ” until the community reaches the criteria where the order can safely be lifted.
The guidance Kincannon said she has received on when the safer-at-home order could safely be lifted include:
- New cases are consistently down,
- Sufficient hospital capacity is available to handle coronavirus cases,
- Testing is widely available.
“We are still experiencing an increase in cases,” she said. And the Knox County Health Department puts the number of COVID-19 deaths in the county at four.
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs has been emphasizing since business closures began the need to get back to work, pointing to a rise in suicides and a loss of personal freedoms.
(This article includes material from the Associated Press.)