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Health Department stresses 'Five Core Actions' critical to reducing COVID-19 spread

It's up to the public to help play their part in the fight against coronavirus, and research shows they aren't.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Coming on the heels of one of the highest days of new Covid-19 cases, Dr. Martha Buchanan with the Knox County Health Department addressed the public Wednesday, emphasizing an increase was expected but shouldn't be ignored.

"This increase is concerning, but as we have previously mentioned we did expect to see an increase in cases as our community continues to reopen.

The Health Department says it's working to help bring resources to groups where there are clusters of larger cases.

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However, it's still up to the public to play their part, and research shows they aren't.

"I stress to the community -- this virus is still very much present in Knox County and in the nation," Buchanan said.

As health leaders continue to investigate the rise, there's one thing they've found -- the so-called five core actions are not consistently followed.

"These actions won't eradicate Covid-19 from our community overnight, but are critical to reducing rate of transmission," Buchanan said as she repeated them again. "Physical distancing; wearing a cloth face covering; washing your hands regularly and often; sanitizing surfaces regularly and often; staying home when sick or told to quarantine."

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As the community enjoys the freedoms that phase two has brought, the Health Department hopes they'll start practicing those actions daily.

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"So, nothing about our guidance changes. Your risk is the same throughout Knox County no matter where you live, where you work, where you play. All those things must be observed all of the time. We know it's inconvenient and people are getting tired of doing it. But it's the only way to move our community forward and not have to revert back to Phase 1. We don't want to do that. Nobody wants to do that." 

As far as how the current numbers might affect moving to Phase 3 in the coming weeks, the Health Department plans to work with city and county leadership and have answers soon.