As of Monday, Roane County had not invoked its ability to recommend or require face masks or coverings in the county, County Executive Ron Woody said in a video posted online.
On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee granted county mayors in most of the state’s counties the authority to recommend or require face masks.
In a video posted on Facebook on Monday, Woody said there are two issues that have to be resolved before Roane County considers invoking the mandate.
First, Woody said the order, Executive Order 54, hasn’t been officially published, at least not as of Monday afternoon.
Second, the county will wait for guidance from the regional health director, Woody said.
“Generally, a regional health director would make a recommendation to a county saying (there) is a health issue to invoke a mandate or some type of action,” Woody said. “The health department has made no recommendation at this time.”
Those two issues must be resolved before the mandate would be considered further in Roane County, Woody said. He said there are other issues to consider as well.
Woody recommended that residents follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wash their hands frequently, wear a face covering or mask in public, maintain a distance from people who don’t live with them, and seek a doctor’s advice and self-isolate when sick.
The county will continue studying the governor’s order, Woody said.
He said Roane County officials have had conference calls, a meeting, and other communications with regional mayors, the sheriff, the emergency management director, and several city managers and mayors. More meetings are planned on Tuesday and Wednesday with city officials and regional mayors, Woody said.
He said Roane County would prefer not to legislate a requirement but highly recommends that people wear a mask in public to protect others. Health officials say wearing a mask can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 from person to person. It could protect your neighbors and family, Woody said.
On Monday, Roane County reported 62 cases of COVID-19, 38 recoveries, and 24 active cases. There have been no deaths in Roane County due to COVID-19.
Almost 6,000 people have been tested, and about 1 percent have tested positive, according to Woody’s data.
Oak Ridge is in Roane County and Anderson County. Most of the city’s residents lives in Anderson County. On Tuesday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said she would not require face masks in Anderson County.
In two adjacent counties, Loudon County is not requiring face masks, but Knox County is in some indoor public places. (See previous story here).
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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