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Knox County Health Department director discusses Mayor Jacobs phased reopening plan

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacbos outlined a potential six week reopening plan on Tuesday.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knox County Health Department said they will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Knox County as they consider Mayor Jacob's proposed phased reopening plan. 

"Planning is happening at every level of our nation, city, and county," KCHD director Dr. Martha Buchanan said. "I support a phased reopening. We are convening a local team to start local planning. We’ll need a local plan." 

That comes after Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs outlined a potential 6-week reopening plan on Tuesday in a memo to Governor Bill Lee. 

Mayor Jacob's plan calls for all businesses to reopen but with monitoring of employees' health and social distancing still in mind. The memo does not specify a date when businesses could reopen.

"We all want to reopen the economy," Buchanan said. "But we’re going to do that safely and we’re going to do that together. We will provide advice and we’ll have to wait for some of it, and see what the governor says."

The Knox County Health Department also issued a statement Tuesday, saying it is meeting with the two mayors and other local leaders to best figure out how to go about safely reopening businesses. 

"We are encouraged by the innovation and ideas coming from the business community, as it will take all of us working together to ensure we don’t see a surge in cases once businesses begin to re-open. The draft proposal was created by Mayor Jacobs in direct response to a request from Governor Lee who asked city and county mayors from across the state for their thoughts regarding a phased re-opening. For local planning, Dr. Buchanan is convening a task force comprised of County and City leadership and the Knoxville Chamber to further advise Mayor Jacobs, Mayor Kincannon and other elected leadership. Additionally, it will take creativity, business acumen and infection control expertise to successfully re-open businesses in Knox County."

Dr. Buchanan also noted the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county - Knox County can now count 172 confirmed cases, 136 recovered cases, 21 people who were hospitalized, and no more deaths from COVID-19

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