Proposal to close courthouse offices for COVID sent to committee

Anderson County Courthouse

A proposal to temporarily close Anderson County Courthouse offices to the public because of COVID-19 and to have much business conducted remotely was referred to a committee last week.

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A proposal to temporarily close Anderson County Courthouse offices to the public because of COVID-19 and to have much business conducted remotely was referred to a committee last week.

The Anderson County Commission considered the motion on Monday, December 21. The proposal to switch to remote work for courthouse offices was made by Commissioner Theresa Scott and seconded by Commissioner Catherine Denenberg of districts six and seven in Oak Ridge.

Anderson County Courthouse

A proposal to temporarily close Anderson County Courthouse offices to the public because of COVID-19 and to have much business conducted remotely was referred to a committee last week.

The rest of this story is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

Already a member? Great! Thank you! Sign in here.

Not a member? No problem! Subscribe here:

Basic

Pro

Temporary

If you prefer to send a check, you may do so by mailing one to:

Oak Ridge Today
P.O. Box 6064
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

We also have advanced subscription options. You can see them here.

We also accept donations. You can donate here. A donation of $50 or more will make you eligible for a subscription.

Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today. We appreciate your support!

Oak Ridge not authorized to require masks

The City of Oak Ridge does not have the authority to require face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials said Wednesday.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Anderson County, which includes Oak Ridge, has increased significantly this month. The county had 178 total cases on Thursday—a 70 percent increase since July 2—and the number of active cases more than doubled in eight days.

As the number of cases has surged in the region, people have set up social media groups where members have reported on mask use at local businesses and offices and called for mandatory masks, including in Oak Ridge and its schools.

On Wednesday, the city said it is prohibited from enacting or enforcing a mask requirement because of a Tennessee attorney general opinion issued in April and an executive order from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee in May. (The attorney general’s opinion is Opinion Number 20-07, and the executive order is Executive Order Number 38.)

[Read more…]

Anderson County will not require face masks

Terry-Frank-Aug-15-2016
Terry Frank

Note: This story was last updated at 11:35 a.m.

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank will not require face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced Friday that he was giving county mayors in 89 of the state’s 95 counties the authority to recommend or require face coverings in their counties.

On Tuesday, Frank said she would not exercise the authority to require face coverings.

“The people of Anderson County have been doing a wonderful job following the governor’s guidance, and I often express how proud I am of the job they’ve been doing throughout this COVID-19 pandemic,” Frank said. “I trust and respect the people of Anderson County, and I believe it is through encouraging healthy behaviors, promoting prevention, and praising each other that we achieve the greatest health outcomes.”

Frank’s announcement comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has surged in Anderson County. The county added 39 new cases between Thursday and Monday, pushing the total up to 144, and the number of active cases about doubled from 32 on Thursday to 63 on Monday.

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Anderson County has fireworks Saturday night

Fireworks at Alvin K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge on July 4, 2017. (File photo by D. Ray Smith)

There are fireworks in Anderson County for Independence Day this evening.

The fireworks are funded by Anderson County with help from private donations from businesses and residents.

Anderson County commissioners debated last month whether to have the fireworks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also debated how much to spend, with potential amounts ranging between $12,000 and $20,000. The goal was to get to a total of about $20,000.

The fireworks show will start at 9:45 p.m. today (Saturday, July 4) at Anderson County High School. The high school campus will be closed to the public.

Anderson County High School is at 130 Maverick Circle in Clinton, close to Exit 122 on Interstate 75. The Anderson County mayor’s office recommended that anyone watching the fireworks from public areas around Exit 122 use social distancing, which generally means staying six feet away from people who don’t live with you.

There are normally fireworks in cities such as Oak Ridge, but those displays have been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, in what could be a one-time event, the county is hosting and helping to fund the display.

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Updated: State reports new daily high in COVID cases

This COVID-19 dashboard by the Tennessee Department of Health is through Saturday, June 27, 2020.

Note: This story was last updated at 2:30 p.m. June 28.

Tennessee reported about 1,400 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, a new daily high, and the state passed 40,000 total cases on Saturday.

There were 1,410 new cases reported Friday. Of those, 1,396 were new confirmed cases, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Fourteen were new probable cases.

The previous high was 1,188 new cases a week earlier, on June 19.

Seven of the state’s top 10 highest new daily case counts have been in the past two weeks. Five of them have been in the past five days.

The number of cases increased by 728 on Saturday, pushing the total to 40,172. Of those cases, 39,848 were confirmed, and 324 were probable.

The number of cases in Anderson County rose by one to 90 on Saturday. The day before, on Friday, the case count went up by eight, the highest increase in the county. Previously, the largest daily increase had been five.

While the hospitalization rate has fallen across the state, the number of current hospitalizations has increased during the past few weeks from 391 on Friday, June 12, to 484 on Thursday, June 25.

[Read more…]

Tennessee reports new daily high in COVID-19 cases

A chart of daily new COVID-19 cases in Tennessee through Saturday, June 20, 2020. (Chart courtesy Ken Mayes, used with permission)

Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m.

Tennessee reported 1,188 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a new daily high, and the state passed 500 confirmed deaths on Saturday, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.

The new high in daily new cases occurred in the same week that the state reported what are now its third- and sixth-highest totals of new cases in one day: 885 on Sunday, June 14, and 726 on Monday, June 15.

Of the 1,188 new cases reported Friday, the state said 1,181 were new confirmed cases and seven were new probable cases.

The previous daily high was 1,156 on May 1. That was reported after a large number of new cases was diagnosed at Turner Trousdale Correctional Center, according to Nashville investigative reporter Phil Williams.

It’s not clear why there was a new high on Friday. There was a large number of new tests reported, 15,176. But the rate of positive results, 7.8 percent (comparing total new cases to total new tests), was in the range of the rate for the rest of the week, when the positive rate ranged between 4.9 percent and 8.8 percent.

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Updated: July 4 Fireworks Celebration canceled this year

The annual fireworks show was in Alvin K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge on Thursday, July 4, 2019. (File photo by D. Ray Smith)

Note: This story was updated at 11:30 p.m. June 10.

The July 4 Fireworks Celebration in Oak Ridge has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release, the City of Oak Ridge said the challenges related to COVID-19 include:

  • The Oak Ridge Community Band has canceled its performance.
  • Surrounding areas have also canceled similar events.
  • Those attending the July 4 Independence Day celebration would not be able to successfully follow the social distancing requirements established by the State of Tennessee and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The city said there is a risk of larger crowds and more traffic because other nearby events have been canceled. Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said residents can instead spend time with family and friends at home.

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Nine of 11 COVID-19 cases recovered in Anderson County

Nine of the 11 COVID-19 cases in Anderson County had recovered as of Thursday, Mayor Terry Frank said Friday.

“This is more positive news for recoveries,” Frank said. “Keep up the great work all!”

No additional information has been reported about the Anderson County patients, including their general location within the county, their ages, or genders.

There has been one death from COVID-19 in Anderson County.

[Read more…]