Photo: Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly
Photo Credit: City of Chattanooga Government / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative Staff-
Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has ordered the closure of all community centers at the conclusion of summer camp on Friday. While community centers are always closed for a week of deep cleaning following summer camp, Mayor Kelly ordered that they remain closed indefinitely due to “spiking COVID-19 infections among unvaccinated Chattanoogans”.
According to Kelly’s office, all community centers will remain closed following their Summer Camp cleaning protocols until the city’s vaccination rate reaches 70%, or until the outbreak reverses trend and declines.
Kelly released the following statement:
“The resurgence of COVID in our community is affecting young and old, rich and poor, and people of every color. It does not discriminate, except in one respect — this is an outbreak among the unvaccinated.
While we have seen a small handful of breakthrough infections in vaccinated residents, their symptoms are brief and mild whereas infections in unvaccinated individuals can result in severe illness, hospitalization, long-term symptoms, and even death. The only way to prevent harm to yourself is to get vaccinated.
It is for this reason that I am in the unfortunate position of having to order all of our community centers to remain closed following Summer Camp. They will remain so until our community vaccination rate reaches 70%, or until this current outbreak reverses trend and begins to decline.”
Kelly’s announcement followed the closures of the Carver, East Chattanooga, Washington Hills and Frances B. Wyatt community centers over a four-day period, which were all closed due to a single confirmed COVID-19 case discovered at each facility.
Summer camps will continue through Friday at community centers that remain open. Parks, pools and outdoor spaces will remain open for the present, though they could be subject to closure if the current outbreak continues to worsen.
The decision on when to reopen the closed community centers will be made in consultation with Dr. Mary Lambert, the city’s director of community health.
The exception to this closure is for vaccination events held in community centers. The community centers will be opened only for the vaccination event and then closed again afterward.
Tyner, Brainerd and Shepherd Hills will open temporarily on Tuesday, Aug. 3, because of the District 29 election, but will be immediately closed thereafter.
“New variants of the COVID-19 virus are making younger people sicker, up to and including serious critical illness, long-term health problems, and death, as well as spreading more quickly than before,” said Dr. Lambert. “We have now closed four community centers due to outbreaks of this virus, and the only way to prevent the situation from growing worse is to get vaccinated and protect yourself. Please don’t gamble with your health.”