​Czarnecki Reports on the Virus Mitigation Efforts

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

A representative from the Tennessee Department of Health spoke to members and guests of the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club this month about the state’s response to COVID-19.

Glenn Czarnecki, regional director for the Southeast Region of the Tennessee Department of Health, spoke to the group about the department’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus.

Rotary president John Solomon said Czarnecki informed the group of some of the department’s actions thus far, including their work to make testing more widely accessible and to begin reopening the state safely.

“Glenn works specifically with rural communities, and the fact that he is plugged into this area was a comfort,” Solomon said. “Tennessee is among the top states as far as the percentage of the population that has been tested. It was just a good opportunity to talk about something that is on everyone’s mind and to get an update directly from someone at the department.”

Tennessee’s first case of COVID-19 was reported on March 4, 2020. Over the subsequent weeks, case numbers increased rapidly. On April 2, Governor Lee signed his Safer at Home order to implement statewide restrictions on non-essential business and travel in order to “flatten the curve” and quickly slow the spread of disease.

In the weeks since, roughly five percent of the population in Tennessee has been tested for the coronavirus, which can often present asymptomatically.

As of this reporting, state health workers have tested nearly 350,000 Tennessee residents, and of those thousands, there have been just over 18,000 positive cases. The Department of Health reported Tuesday that the total of recovered cases was rapidly approaching 11,000.

“The better we understand it, the quicker we can get back to a sense of normalcy,” said Czarnecki.

Czarnecki added that disease monitoring, increased testing, increased health care capacity and an increase in available personal protective equipment are all responsible for slowing the spread of the virus in Tennessee.

For more information about the state’s response to the virus or on how to protect yourself and your community, call the public information number at (877) 857-2945 or (833) 556-2476 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

If you think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, contact your doctor and self-isolate. You should get help immediately if you have trouble breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion or bluish lips or face, according to the CDC.

To stay up-to-date, visit the department of health’s COVID-19 landing page at <https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.htm

and follow the Tennessee Department of Health at www.twitter.com/tndeptofhealth