Mayor Andy Berke speaks out about increase in COVID-19 cases
HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Over the Past two days Hamilton County has reported 42 new coronavirus cases.
Today Mayor Andy Berke held a press conference about what this means for the city of Chattanooga.
Tennessee is slowly working to reopen every type of business.
During the last two weeks Chattanooga witnessed the reopening of restaurant dining rooms, malls and hair salons BUT businesses were required to follow Governor Bill Lee’s guidelines for social distancing.
Despite the county health department statement that the newest cases are NOT linked to reopenings, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke says the quick rise in cases is a cause for concern.
“When you reopen and people circulate more, that will increase the chance for more exposure,” says Mayor Andy Berke.
Mayor Berke says we need to be careful of what businesses we choose to frequent.
“Only frequent businesses that are practicing safe and healthy ways of doing business. Make sure when we go out we wear a mask, don’t get into large groups, stay six feet away from people. Don’t go out for the soul purpose of having some fun, transact your business and go back to your house,” says Mayor Berke.
Mayor Berke says there is not much he can do right now since the decision making is out of his hands, but he does stay in contact with the Hamilton County Health Department, on a weekly basis.
“We have to watch these cases because we can’t let ourselves get to the point where there is exponential growth in cases. When they start doubling on a regular basis, that’s when you can really see a problem in your community,” says Mayor Berke.
Officials warn that we must stay aware about social distancing, but also recognize the impact that closures have on the economy.
“We have to be really careful about how we conduct ourselves and whether we continue to expand the businesses, because if there is a second round of closures, that will make our economic devastation worse,” says Mayor Berke.