Porter encourages CDC Guidelines, does not mandate masks

PUTNAM COUNTY – After analyzing the latest statistics and talking with many local and regional officials, Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter recommends citizens of Putnam County follow CDC guidelines and encourages the use of masks in public settings, especially when social distancing is not easily practiced. 

Porter stopped short of issuing a countywide mandate requiring masks be worn, a power handed to 89 of the Tennessee county mayors in an action by Gov. Bill Lee on Friday with Executive Order 54. 

“I feel like one of my top responsibilities as county mayor is to help ensure our citizens stay safe and healthy,” said Porter. “As I have since the beginning of this pandemic, I’m recommending the citizens of Putnam County follow CDC guidelines regarding not only the wearing of masks but also washing hands frequently and practicing social distancing. 

“We all hope that in the exercise of your personal liberties and your freedom to choose your own actions that you make the individual decision to stay safe and to protect those around you.” Porter said, “We live in a strong community that pulls together in tough times. If we all work together and make good choices, we can prevail over this challenge.” 

Three primary concerns are at the top of the list when evaluating the local coronavirus status in Putnam County, including the decision as to whether to issue a mask requirement, according to Porter. First is the overall fatality rate, which remains exceedingly low. Second is the patient load at Cookeville Regional Medical Center, which has been manageable to this point. Third is the number of active cases in our county. 

Porter stated that out of a county population of approximately 80,000 people, we currently have 256 active cases of individuals who have tested positive and are still in quarantine. 

“Our coronavirus numbers continue to ebb and flow, and it’s something I monitor daily with our county health department,” said Porter, who added that numbers from our health department are more timely measures than statistics published by the state due to common delays in reporting. “Overall, while we’d rather not see any cases here at home, our number of active cases remains a low percentage of our total county population.

“In an otherwise uncertain and unpleasant environment, those are all positive signs for us,” said Porter. “I will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis, and we will make changes as necessary.” 

To learn more about CDC guidelines in combatting the coronavirus, please visithttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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