Mayor Jim Coppinger extends Mask Mandate


HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger held a news conference this morning to discuss the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the county’s stance on vaccines. 

“What i am going to ask of the health officials is to extend the mask mandate with an expiration on it of March 31st of 2021,” says Mayor Jim Coppinger, Hamilton County. 

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Health Officials say that the surge in the New Year’s numbers should be revealed next week and that they were hoping for a better outcome from the holiday season. 

“Think about playing Russian Roulette. If you have one of those empty chambers it’s no big deal. But if you are the person who gets the full chamber it’s a very big deal. If you are the person that turns out to be very susceptible to this virus and its complications, there is a significant chance you are going to be dead,” says, Dr. Mark Anderson, Infectious Disease at Chi Memorial.

In the conference, the health department stated that the pandemic has strained every system meant to combat this virus. 

“Now we are experiencing new interruptions and new strains on our system. There are not enough vaccines.  There are logistical delivery challenges, vaccine implementation challenges, huge demand for the vaccine and challenges for fair access,” say Becky Barnes, Hamilton County Health Department. 

 Health Officials are still seeing Covid-19 case numbers increasing at an alarming rate and with the new Covid-19 variant, that is not expected to change. However, officials say although the variant is more infectious, it does not appear to be more dangerous.

“Right now the information is that this variant is susceptible to the immunity that is received with this vaccination,” says Dr. Anderson. 

To stay up to date on the health departments vaccine information and distribution, click here. 

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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at