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Restaurants reopen as Bedford County COVID-19 count increases

April 28, 2020

By TERENCE CORRIGAN - Times-Gazette in Shelbyville, TN

(Editor’s note: The Bedford County case count rose to 165 Monday afternoon, up from 159 on Sunday.) As restaurants started reopening Monday, the number of new cases of COVID-19 continued to spike in Bedford County over the weekend at a rate well above all but a handful of Tennessee counties. Retail stores are slated to reopen Wednesday. Bedford County has the second fastest growth rate in the number of new cases in Tennessee. County governments have the sole authority over the reopening process in their respective counties. Bedford County has adopted a wait-and-see approach to reopening its government offices. County offices “have locked their doors to walk in traffic,” according to John Carney, Bedford County media coordinator. County services are available online or by appointment only. “As far as when they will return to allowing walk-in traffic” Carney said, Mayor Chad Graham, “has not been determined yet. We’re continuing to monitor the situation.” Rude encounter The new county justice center remains closed although court clerk’s office employees are available for in-hallway visits. On Monday morning, a half-dozen deputies were gathered at the front entrance and the doors from the entry parlor into the building were locked. When a reporter approached the doors, hoping to ask a question a deputy, in a gruff voice said “what do you want?” The deputy cut off a question and directed the reporter to a table of documents. Another deputy came to the door and answered the question. There is, reportedly, a COVID-19 outbreak involving employees at the Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Shelbyville, but state health officials have refused to say how many cases are connected to the plant or even formally confirm that there is a cluster there. Tyson shut down on Monday for a complete factory cleaning and was expected to reopen today. Big increase Tennessee reported its biggest one-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases from Saturday to Sunday. The dramatic rise in the number of positive tests accompanied a 51.9 % increase in the number of tests conducted statewide – from 97,098 on April 19 to 147,474 this past Sunday. The Tennessee Department of Health said statewide the number of cases was approaching 10,000 as of Sunday, according to the Associated Press. On Saturday (April 25) the number of cases statewide was 9,189. On Sunday (April 26) the number was up to 9,667 – up 478 cases.The 478 of new cases on Sunday represents a 5.2% jump from Saturday’s total. The Tennessean reported that it’s the highest number of new virus cases recorded in one day in the state. Bedford County’s Saturday to Sunday increase outstripped the state by a slim margin, up 6 percent, from 150 confirmed cases to 159. In seven days, (Sunday to Saturday, April 19 to April 25) Bedford County’s case count jumped 123.9 percent, from 71 to 159 cases. Although the rate of increase in Bedford County has declined in recent days it still remains one of the highest in Tennessee. Every seven days the case count doubles in Bedford County. Doubling Doubling increases in other high-rise counties include: • Coffee, 9 days • Macon, 7.5 days • Cheatham and Sevier, 8.5 days • Dickson, 11 days. • Anderson, 13.5 days Doubling rates in some Tennessee counties are very quick: • The case number doubles very day in Bledsoe County • Hickman and Lake, 1.5 days • Troutsdale every 5.5 days COVID-19 has claimed over 49,000 lives in the U.S. The number of confirmed cases is often rising over 2,000 a day. Worldwide there have been over 2.8 million confirmed cases and nearly 200,000 deaths.

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