COVID-19: Tennessee health commissioner says the days of mandates are over

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 12:00 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Tennessee Commissioner Health Dr. Lisa Peircey says she believes the days of COVID-19 related mandates are over.

“I think the day of government mandates is over and you’re seeing that nationally whether that’s at the state level or the county level or even federal level,” Piercey said during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing. “There’s just not a lot of appetite for that because people are not paying attention to that anymore.”

She says what people will pay attention to is for private businesses and employers to implement their own mask guidelines.

Piercey also says she believes the vaccine is the “single best tool” to combat the spread of the virus. Though 94 of the 95 counties in Tennessee are seeing an uptake in the vaccine, health officials are still stressing the importance of getting vaccinated.

She noted that over 95% of all active cases and 93% of deaths are among the unvaccinated. And Over 80% of the latest cases are predominantly the Delta variant. Piercey attributes some of that spread to the Memphis/Shelby County area due to its proximity to Arkansas and Mississippi.

Another concern is nursing homes across the Volunteer State. Piercey says nursing home vaccination rates are coming in at about 50% or less among staff. It’s also important to note that not all residents are vaccinated leaving both staff and residents vulnerable and susceptible to the deadly variant.

Piercey says there are no signs of the upward trend slowing down expecting a spike in a matter of weeks.

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