Jackson, Madison County to reimplement mask mandate starting at midnight Nov. 13
Nearly two months since its initial expiration, Madison County will reimplement a mask mandate following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
It will take effect on Nov. 13 at midnight and expires on Dec. 29.
"We have to do the things we've been asking people in the community to do if we want to get through this pandemic and get back to life as normal," Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department executive director Kim Tedford said Friday.
Madison County confirmed 151 new COVID-19 cases Friday, the highest amount ever reported in the county since the pandemic began and smashing its previous high of 97 on Nov. 9. Tedford said those numbers are expected to remain high in the coming days.
Hospitalizations have also continued to rise, with Jackson-Madison County General Hospital reportedly treating 107 patients for the coronavirus as of Nov. 13.
For comparison's sake, the hospital reported treating an average of 100 to 110 patients per day during the pandemic's previous "overwhelming" peak in July and August.
Active cases across West Tennessee are also up after a brief drop in late October. The 19 counties making up rural West Tennessee crossed the 7,000-active case threshold for the first time on Nov. 9.
For weeks the United States has set grim records for confirmed coronavirus cases by day. The U.S. confirmed 153,496 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, just days after confirming 100,000 daily new cases for the first time.
Health officials are particularly concerned about the rise in cases as the nation heads into Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Several states and major cities around the U.S. have re-implemented mask mandates and capacity requirements.
So far, Madison County has only put in a mask mandate. But, Tedford warned people about gathering during Thanksgiving.
"We cannot continue this rate heading into the holidays," she said. "Our numbers have never looked as bad as they are right now."
The state of Tennessee passed the 300,000-case threshold Friday, reporting 300,458 cumulative cases (with 3,733 new), 1,792 total hospitalizations and 3,852 total deaths (with 64 new).
Gov. Bill Lee has refused to implement a statewide mask mandate, instead leaving the choice to county mayors and local health departments.
Marina Higuera contributed to this story.
Reach Adam Friedman by email at email@example.com, by phone at 731-431-8517 or follow him on Twitter @friedmanadam5.