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Analyzing COVID-19 in Johnson County

According to both the WHO and CDC, masks coupled with hand washing, social distancing, and other precautions slow the spread of COVID-19. Submitted by the Johnson County Farmers Market

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that is susceptible to mutations. Knowing that strains and symptoms vary, it is paramount to understand the signs. School nurse and nurse practitioner Wendy Henley has been documenting reported cases to analyze what to expect on a case-by-case basis.

Expected symptoms
Many businesses and organizations nationwide have started doing temperature checks to screen for COVID-19. Although fevers are a common symptom, Henley reports that most people diagnosed in her data did not have a fever. School Board Chairman Howard Carlton agreed, stating cases in his workplace followed suit.From Henley’s compiled data, most Johnson County people affected experienced headaches and nasal congestion, which is often confused with sinus infections. COVID-19 can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms overlap with the flu and the common cold. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Reported results vary when it comes to PPE. Masks are an extra precaution suggested by many government offices such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Masks coupled with hand washing, social distancing, and other precautions slow the spread of COVID-19, according to both the WHO and CDC.

“Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others,” the CDC announced.”Masks are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.”

Face shields are less common in Johnson County but present. Unfortunately, face shields could be unreliable protection. As of August 7, the CDC specifically states that it “does not currently recommend the use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”
Compliance is a major factor surrounding mask effectiveness. Locals have expressed mixed views on whether masks are necessary. County Mayor Mike Taylor recently extended the county mask mandate until September 30 in Johnson County Executive Order 6.

“If this order causes just one more person to wear a mask and helps protect our more potentially vulnerable senior residents, it has been worth it,” Mayor Taylor explained after announcing the original mandate extension. “If we can lower the number of senior residents getting infected, it will reduce their anxiety, and I think that is the key.”

As of August 30, Johnson County has 407 confirmed cases. For more information on COVID-19 and its spread, visit tn.gov/health, cdc.gov, or who.int.