Is Hamilton County’s mask mandate working?

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – It’s been 32 days since Hamilton County implemented a mask mandate, so enough time has passed for officials to evaluate if the mandate is really helping to slow the spread of the virus.

A new study from Vanderbilt reveals that counties who have implemented a mask mandate are, in fact,  seeing lower COVID-19 hospitalizations, while counties without a mandate, are reporting a 200% increase in hospitalizations since July 1st.

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“26 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have some sort of face mask requirement in place. Hamilton County is obviously one. Compliance has been very high, that’s been good. We really need state wide face mask mandates and that could not be more clear. Georgia needs one for that matter because the data that proves how effective they are just proves the point,” Kerry Hayes, Covid-19 Task Force.

Since the pandemic began, Hamilton County has recorded over 6,000 positive coronavirus cases, and 55 deaths. The number of active cases is currently over 1,300.

According to data from the Hamilton County Health Department, between July15 and July 31st  an average of 100 new Covid-19 cases were reported each day – the highest number to date.. However data after the first few weeks in August,  revealed that the average fell to 70 new cases per day.

“We are seeing trends in the number of hospitalizations. I think one of the most telling numbers for this week is that there were 77 people hospitalized yesterday in Hamilton County and only 33 of them were Hamilton County residents. The rest were from surrounding counties and those surrounding counties do not have mask mandates,” says Rae Bond, Covid-19 Task Force.

Officials say Hamilton County is seeing a general trend in the reduction of cases in our area leaving them hopeful that the mask mandate is working.