McMinn County Mayor John Gentry and Meigs County Mayor Bill James both said they hope recent improvements in COVID-19 cases is a good sign moving forward.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases around the state and in the local area have decreased recently.

On Jan. 28, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee noted that the state had seen a 60% decline in cases and nearly a 40% decline in hospitalizations in the past month.

Locally, McMinn County averaged 22 new cases per day from Jan. 22 through Feb. 4. That is down from 33 per day from Jan. 8 through Jan. 21.

Over the past week, McMinn County has averaged 137 tests per day.

Meigs County has also seen cases fall in that time frame, as it has averaged 4.8 new cases per day from Jan. 22 through Feb. 4 after averaging 9.6 per day from Jan. 8 through Jan. 21.

Testing, meanwhile, has averaged 31.9 per day in the past week.

McMinn County has a 13.1% positive rate in the past week, while Meigs has a 13.9% positive rate, so both still fall under the White House Task Force’s red zone — marking the highest level of concern.

“We hope this is a good sign,” said Gentry. “In reality 10% of the population has already had the virus, so that may be one reason for the lower numbers, but the positivity rate among the tests are going down and that is encouraging.”

Gentry also noted the potential good sign of a positive rate below 15%.

Lee has started to lift some of the limitations set on sports that were put in place due to the virus.

“Gov. Lee as well as the citizens are wanting things go back to normal,” Gentry stated.

Gentry expressed his gratitude to the McMinn County Health Department for all of their efforts in combating the virus and distributing the vaccines.

“I think the health department has been doing an amazing job. I have been getting calls every day about how well they are doing with the vaccines,” Gentry said. “They are truly on the front line and fighting this virus with a smile on their face ... Hopefully we will be able to receive more vaccines and can continue to vaccinate more people.”

Meigs County Mayor Bill James expressed his joy at seeing the COVID-19 numbers start to go down.

“I’m tickled to death that the numbers are going down,” James expressed. “I think with the number of tests increasing we are seeing the number of positive results decrease.”

He believes the citizens’ good response has led to the positive downtick in cases.

“I think the people are the ones responsible for the numbers going down,” James expressed. “I think if they continue to do what they have been doing and if everybody receives the vaccination, as available, then hopefully by the summer we can beat this thing.”

James has had a personal experience with the virus and wishes anyone who contracts it the best.

“I have had the virus and I really understand what it means to get it and I really hope that we can get through this as soon as possible,” said James.

Email shane.duncan@

dailypostathenian.com

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