Video #5 Transcript 03/25/2020

Good afternoon Hamblen County.  Today is March 25, 2020.  We hope the following information helps keep you informed about important community activities.  Please contact Mrs. Kellie Smith if you have any questions or concerns.


1.   Many of our local businesses and industries have asked about when they should make a decision about closing.  There is no official statement from the CDC or the TN Department of Health.  However, we understand there are many industries that are necessary for our community during this time.  We need our hospitals, clinics, food processing plants, and others to remain open for a variety of reasons if possible.  However, there are some things we need to do to remain social responsible and keep our employees safe.  The following are some steps you can take to remain open if necessary:


a)     Take the temperature of all employees when they report to work.  Any temperature over 100.4 could be an indication of infection.  Have those individuals go back home.


b)     Create at least 6 feet between workers, if possible, on assembly lines in production areas.


c)     Encourage workers to wash hands for 20 seconds multiple times during the day.


d)     Abbreviate the day or work in alternating shifts so the entire workforce is not present at one time. 


e)     Avoid large group gatherings. Shut down common meeting areas such as breakrooms, dining halls, etc. to prevent staff members from congregating in one area.


f)      Create an atmosphere where potentially infected staff members can self-report and self-quarantine if they are beginning to demonstrate symptoms.  You would not want staff members to feel pressured to come to work if they have symptoms.   


g)     Have anyone who has traveled out of the state, or into any of the areas where the virus has spread, remain at home for 2 weeks after they come back home.      


We understand that some counties in TN have made the decision to implement a “shelter in home” or a “stay home” recommendation.   Local authorities can recommend this concept but the regional public health director must approve the request. Many of those counties have experienced a high number of infections and governmental officials had to intervene in those counties. Hamblen County has not made that decision to recommend a “stay home” mandate at this time.  We will continue to monitor the situation and do what is necessary to keep our citizens safe.


2.   There is an increasing need for personal protective equipment or PPEs.  Many of our first responders, health providers, assisted living providers, are running low on this equipment.  There may be professions within the community, and some department outlets, who would still have some of these items in stock.  Please donate any protective masks, face shields or goggles, protective/disposal gowns, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and nitrile gloves to the effort of protecting our health care providers and first responders. We will use our city fire stations for collection sites. 


3.   Please note that hospitals and clinics have access to a limited number of virus test kits.  They will be unable to test everyone for the virus who wants to be tested. You will first be tested for the flu and strep if you visit a medical facility.  In most situations, medical facilities will not test unless you have at least two of the following before testing will be completed:


a)     Have a fever of over 100.4

b)     Have had contact with someone who has had the virus

c)     Have traveled to one of the hot spots in the nation (places with over 200 confirmed cases)


Please don’t become frustrated when health care providers are unable to test.  They are working with extremely limited test kits at this point and are doing all they can to keep us safe.  Efforts are being made to produce more kits, but they are limited at this time, so we appreciate your patience.  In addition, we want to reinforce the concept that you should not visit your health care providers with minor symptoms.  Please contact your primary care physician if you have any questions or concerns.  They can provide you with the best information and advice.  



4.   Many of our community members are traveling this week for spring break.  Virtually all of the early cases in TN were connected with individuals who traveled out of the state.  It is extremely difficult for the Task Force to provide one specific recommendation to all employers on this question.  It is also important to understand that all situations may be different and you should contact a health care provider if you have questions.  However, it may be advisable that all individuals traveling out of state this week, especially to areas that are considered hot (those with over 200 confirmed cases) may want to consider self-quarantining for two weeks after they get back to ensure they have not contracted the virus.  It is important to note that some organizations have developed elaborate screening strategies to detect potential infections.  Hospitals, clinics, and first responders may have created screening processes which may reduce the need for self-isolation.  It is important to check with your employer for specific directions.  However, if you are not in an essential workplace, or if you are not currently working, and have traveled to a hot spot, it would be advisable to self-isolate for 2 weeks. Please keep in mind that it is not just your own personal safety that is at risk.  You have the potential of spreading the virus to others, so stay at home for two weeks and monitor symptoms. 


5.   We understand that a significant portion of our community will have some difficulty with this broadcast in English.  We’ve had several people in the community who have expressed a willingness to translate.   We sent our scripts to Ms. Veronica Silva-Galvan, and she is in the process of translating these.  We certainly appreciate her help and willingness to do this.  In addition, the video itself has a program which will automatically translate the broadcast into whatever language you want.  Regardless, we will help to ensure that all segments of our community are able to stay informed. 


6.   On April 1, several members of the Coronavirus task force will gather to answer questions that community members may have.  The panel will include both mayors, health care providers, school officials, public health officials, and industry representatives.  This would be an excellent opportunity to get information about any question or concern you may have from the appropriate decision maker within our community.  Of course, this can’t be an open meeting with an active audience.  Individuals can send in questions to Kellie Smith and we will answer those questions during a broadcast.  Mrs. Smith’s information is posted at the end of this broadcast. 


7.   The Governor has stated that all school districts will remain closed through April 24.  Per the Governor’s declaration, Hamblen County Schools will be closed through April 24. 



Many of the questions and concerns which have been presented to the Task Force have been very specific concerns about individualistic health conditions.  It should be clearly understood that all citizens should contact their primary health care provider if they have concerns about their personal health or safety.  Nothing stated in these broadcasts should be seen as absolute and should not override the advice of your primary health care provider.  While we believe the information presented in these broadcasts is factual, accurate and generally held as reliable, this current situation is extremely fluid and it may impact individuals very differently.  It is impossible for us to provide personal advice or recommendations to any specific person. It is critical you remain in contact with your primary health provider if you need medical attention.  Thanks for your attention to this broadcast and do your part to keep our community healthy.