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As Board of Health meets on further virus restrictions, here's what the CDC says works

The Knox Co. Health Department said Thursday it was looking to present board members information from a CDC report on virus mitigation efforts.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — At a specially-called Knox County Board of Health meeting Friday, the Health Department Director said she plans to present information from a series of CDC reports which outline successful COVID-19 mitigation efforts in other states.

In addition to information from the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Martha Buchanan said Thursday at a Knox County Health Department media briefing that her staff plans to scour the "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" from the CDC for information on which virus restrictions have worked in other jurisdictions. 

Inside the MMWR, two recent studies are likely to draw health officials' eyes.

The first, a Nov. 13 report from Delaware which details the decline in transmission, hospitalization, and mortality from the coronavirus after a mandated state-at-home order. 

"State-mandated stay-at-home orders and public mask mandates coupled with case investigations with contact tracing contributed to an 82 percent reduction in COVID-19 incidence, 88 percent reduction in hospitalizations, and 100 percent reduction in mortality in Delaware during late April–June," the report said.

A second report is based on a less dramatic public health action than a stay-at-home order, at which the Knox County Board of Health members may balk.

It details the initial surge in the virus after Arizona lifted its stay-at-home order and then the decrease after the state limited public events, closed certain businesses, and implemented a mask mandate. 

The report cited a 75% decrease in new cases following sustained prevention efforts across the state, which included a 50 person limit on public events, closed bars, and gyms and limited indoor dining capacity. 

The report indicated the widespread implementation and enforcement of these rules can decrease cases and help prevent further virus spread.