Covid-19 Task force reacts to mask mandate

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger’s mask mandate goes into effect on Friday, July 10th at 12:01 am.

Mayor Coppinger says he made this decision in hopes of slowing the spread of the Coronavirus within our community.

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, who has been pushing for this for a while,  says he agrees that this mandate is necessary.

“If we are really going to make strides against this virus; that you can see is making gains on us and has for the last several weeks, we have to go this route,” says Mayor Berke.

The Hamilton County Health Department reports that there have been over 2,000 positive cases in the county with over 900 cases currently active.

The Covid-19 Task Force says they believe this mandate will help, but can only make a significant difference if there is close to 100 percent compliance.

“The more compliance we see with that, the more effective it is going to be. If we have close to 100 percent compliance i think we would start to see cases drop very rapidly,” says Kerry Hayes, Covid-19 Task Force.

Officials say though they support Mayor Coppinger’s mandate – it shouldn’t stop at Hamilton County.

“This is not a problem that begins and ends at the Hamilton County border. This is a national problem, a national crisis. We are doing our absolute best giving the date that we have to know how we can navigate this challenge against a virus that doesn’t understand or respect municipal boundaries, county boundaries, or state boundaries,” says Hayes. 

Since wearing masks will become mandatory this week, you can pick up a free one at the hamilton county health department.

For more information on the times for mask pick up or to keep up the with number of coronavirus cases in Hamilton County, click here.