Chattanooga, TN – It has been over eight months since Covid-19 hit the U.S, and with the Holidays approaching, Chattanooga leaders are continuing their work to get everything under control.
However, with a surge in new cases and recent reports of possible exposures, Hamilton County citizens are beginning to get frustrated.
On November 19, a report released by The White House called efforts against the virus in Tennessee, “inadequate.”
The report suggests that bars should reduce their hours, and restaurants should have an indoor capacity of no more than 25 percent.
The White House report claimed that the efforts in Hamilton County could be better at containing the spread of the virus. Mayor Coppinger extended the mask mandate into January, but he did not completely agree with the report.
“We kind of like where we are right now,” Coppinger said, “and we do respect all of the information we get. Yes, the report is really important, it is a good model to follow, but it’s something right now where it might not be one size fits all.”
With the Holidays nearly upon us, health experts in Hamilton County has advised citizens to limit their travel plans. They have asked people to make sacrifices when it comes to who they see.
Dr. Adam Soufleris from Parkridge Medical says his Thanksgiving typically sees twenty-five people at his house, but this year it will only be him and his wife.
The Transportation Security Administration says they believe the number of travelers over Thanksgiving won’t vary much from Columbus Day weekend.
That weekend was the first time the number for air passengers hit over one million since March. David Pekoske, TSA Administrator, expects that the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel days.
The TSA and aviation leaders say it is a personal choice whether or not to travel this Holiday season.
The head of trade association Airlines for America, Nick Calio, says they are not encouraging anyone to travel unless they do so safely. “There’s a variety of factors involved in that for each individual traveler.”
With Christmas just a month away, traveling will continue to weigh on Chattanoogans.
Hamilton County hospitals will still be continuing to treat Covid-19 patients throughout the Holiday season.
While 328 new cases and two deaths were reported on Thursday, reaching a record high, doctors at Erlanger say they are not yet at capacity. One doctor says they are not even close. On Thursday, Erlanger only had around 59 Covid patients, and they will not feel the need to make any changes unless they hit triple digits.
The Health Department says that technical difficulties on their side could show the number of cases as lower than it actually is.
Since the beginning of November, there have been possible exposures across Hamilton County. Wimpie’s Restaurant on Dayton, Super Carniceria Loa on Broad Street, and the commons area of the Tomorrow Building are all locations where people were exposed to Covid-19.
Health officials have urged anyone who has visited these places to get tested.