7 restaurant employees test positive for COVID in Ootlewah

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OOLTEWAH, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Local Goat in Ooltewah is voluntarily shutdown until Friday, after the Hamilton County Health Department found that seven employees tested
positive for COVID.

Now they’re saying that others were potentially exposed during a two
week period from June 7th through the 22nd.

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Dr. Jay Sizemore with Erlanger says this sends a clear sign
that, as far as the pandemic is concerned, we’re not out of the woods
yet.

“We’ll continue to see events like this as long as there are pockets
or sectors of our population that don’t want to be vaccinated,” says Dr. Sizemore.

The Tennessee state government states that around 34 percent of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated – and even though cases are trending down, Sizemore urges Tennesseans to be vigilant.

“If we want to continue to have our vaccines work, we as a community
need to continue to stress the importance of vaccination,” Dr. Sizemore warns.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, the restaurant wrote,

“…We are very proud of our management team for being so proactive
and expeditious in following our Covid-19 protocols to the letter and
not allowing ill employees to work. While not mandated, we feel it is
the right thing to do for our community, employees and guests. We
don’t take issues of safety lightly and I hope this shows our resolve
to be the leader in our market and always do the right thing. We will
resume our normal operations Friday at 11am.”

Dr. Sizemore says that herd immunity is in reach, and that incidents
like these can be prevented as long as people get vaccinated.

“That’s the whole concept of herd immunity, is that we actually could
protect to a much greater level those that choose to not be
vaccinated, and right now we’re just not able to protect those
individuals as well as we’d like,” he says.