The local impact of COVID-19
On March 23, Grundy County Mayor Michael Brady declared a State of Civil Emergency related to the COVID-19 epidemic. The declaration came soon after notification of four confirmed cases of the virus in the county. Under the State of Emergency, restrictions and recommendations are now in place to protect local citizens and stop the spread of the virus. The duration of the civil emergency is limited to seven days after the announcement, at which time it will be reviewed and possibly extended.
The proclamation gives the county the ability to react quickly to the spread of the virus by:
• As necessary, appropriate and expend funds; make contracts; obtain and distribute equipment, materials, and supplies for emergency management purposes; provide for the health and safety of persons and property, including emergency assistance to the victims of any emergency; and direct and coordinate the development of emergency management plans and programs in accordance with the policies and plans set by the federal and state emergency management agencies;
• As necessary, appoint, employ, remove, or provide with or without compensation, coordinators, rescue teams, fire and police personnel, and other emergency management workers;
• In addition to the primary emergency operating center, establish, as necessary, one or more secondary emergency operating centers to provide continuity of government and direction and control of emergency operations;
• As necessary, assign and make available for duty the offices and agencies of the Grundy County Government, including the employees, property, or equipment relating to health, medical and related services, law enforcement, transportation, and similar items or services for emergency operation purposes, as the primary emergency management forces of the Grundy County Government for employment within or outside the area of Grundy County Government; and
• Request state assistance or, as needed, invoke emergency-related mutual-aid assistance in the event of an emergency affecting another political subdivision.
What it means for you
• The county will close all Grundy County owned or controlled buildings, including the Courthouse, to the general public, however, all offices of the Grundy County Government shall remain open and all county officials and employees will continue to perform their duties in order to continue and facilitate carrying on the essential functions of the County Government and serving the citizens of Grundy County.
• The county supports the decision of the County Board of Education and County School Superintendent to call off school for both students and faculty in their effort to protect the students and faculty of Grundy County Schools and to limit the spread of the COVID-19 Disease. Governor Lee announced all Tennessee schools will be closed until April 24, and schools in Grundy county will comply with the order.
• The county urges all citizens of Grundy County to do their part to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease, accordingly, all citizens of Grundy County are urged to follow the White House Guidelines, which include:
1. If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical providers.
2. If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people as much as practicable.
3. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at an increased risk, for example a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system, stay home and away from other people.
4. Avoid social and public gatherings of more than ten (10) people.
5. To the extent reasonably practicable avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.
6. Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-terms care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
7. Practice good hygiene by (i) waking your hands, especially after touching any frequently used items or surfaces; (ii) avoid touching your face, (iii) sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow.
8. Disinfect frequently used items and surface as much as possible.
Local businesses are feeling the pressure of the new guidelines issued by both the state and Mayor Brady. However, the county is seeing great efforts by business owners to stop the spread of the virus and comply with the much needed guidelines.
Restaurants are closed to dine-in service. Many are now offering take-out service.
Students and teachers are looking at a new normal. Classes will be held virtually.
Grocery stores and other businesses offering essential supplies are feeling both the crush of an increase in customers and the resulting empty shelves. To ensure local residents can find what they need at the Monteagle Piggly Wiggly, Josh Rudder says they have upped the number of trucks delivering goods to the store and increased employee hours. Tennesseans have been asked to not hoard supplies. In the event of a “Safer at Home” order, grocery stores will remain open.
The Grundy County Sheriff’s Office has also implemented new procedures. Sheriff Clint Shrum says they are following CDC guidelines in regards to COVID-19. The office remains open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Deputies continue to patrol the county. However, they will attempt to resolve calls of a non-emergency matter via phone when possible. Video visits at the jail have been cancelled. Court operations continue to be scaled back, but urgent matters such as orders of protection will be ongoing.
Are we doing enough?
Mayor Brady’s proclamation for Grundy County, along with other localities such as Sewanee and Tullahoma who have issued “Safer at Home” directives, will go a long way to-ward “flattening the curve” of the virus. But, as a state, is Tennessee doing enough?
A Wallet Hub report, published on Tuesday, listed Tennessee as 49 out of 50 states when it comes to aggressive measures taken to protect their residents. The states were compared on key metrics such as testing, school closures, ICU beds, and shelter-in-place policies. The five states with the most aggressive measures in place at the time of the re-port were (in order) California, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. The five states with the least aggressive measures were Oklahoma (46th), Arkansas (47th), Idaho (48th), Tennessee (49th), and Nevada (50th).
Grundy County’s mayor, sheriff, county officials, school officials, business owners, and citizens are to be commended for taking proactive action to protect our local residents.