County Mayor’s Notes – April 8th, 2020

Thirty-three residents of Cumberland County have tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. That is an increase of one since yesterday.  Contact tracing is standard in all cases, so if you have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive, you will be notified. 

This count is intended to be a brief summary of the information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health.  More detailed information can be found here:

https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

Tax Filing Deadlines

I have had a few people contact me lately concerning the deadline for filing taxes.  US income taxes and the Tennessee Hall Income Tax have changed the filing date to July 15, 2020, so you still have plenty of time.

PPE (gloves, etc.)

I have seen pictures of PPE, mainly gloves, that have been discarded in the parking lots of different retailers.  A friend sent me a text reminding me of it and asked that I mention it.  If you are using gloves, etc. and are throwing them in the parking lot instead of discarding them properly, you are a part of the problem.  You are endangering those that must clean up after you.  Please take a little extra time to dispose of them properly.  It is NOT too much to ask.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Please read all of this section as I attempt to clarify a few points about HIPAA information. 

HIPAA is a law that created privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information.  It is complicated – so much so that it takes experts to interpret the finer points of the law.  Sometimes they disagree.

I get a lot of questions concerning HIPAA and why the Tennessee Department of Health does not disseminate more granular information.  If you have asked me or my office about it, we have likely said something similar to “the Tennessee Department of Health is not releasing that information due to HIPAA.”  To be clear, that is not my interpretation of HIPAA, that is the Tennessee Department of Health interpretation of HIPAA.  Like most of us, I am not a HIPAA expert, but I do believe the Tennessee Department of Health has been overly restrictive in the release of information.  And they are hearing about it.  If you recall, they originally announced COVID-19 cases would only be announced by Grand Division.  After much feedback, it was changed to provide data on positive tests at a county level.  Originally, the TN Department of Health also refused to release death numbers by county.  That has since changed as well.  There are other examples.

How did this change?  Feedback.  Strong feedback.  Feedback from Mayors, EMA groups, legislators, and constituents to name just a few.  If you watch Governor Lee’s (almost) daily 3 PM news conferences, you will see that the media is constantly pushing for more information as well – and the Tennessee Department of Health is slowly complying.

So, if you ask my office for more information and we say we are providing all the information we have, that is true.  It is not word parsing.  We do not get any more information other than what you can get in the link above.  That does not mean we haven’t pushed for more information.  It means we are providing all we have currently been given.  If you call another agency and they tell you that you can get more information from the county, please get a name and phone number and pass it on to my office, because that simply is not true.

Testing

The local Health Department and your primary care provider are still testing.  Generally speaking, Cumberland County is doing quite a bit of testing.  If my rough math from this morning is correct, we rank around 11th in the state in numbers of tests performed, while we are the 23rd largest county by population. 

The local Health Department is still doing drive through testing from Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 3 PM.  This Friday is Good Friday so testing will be a bit abbreviated.

Additional Health Department Testing Information:

Good Friday 4/10:    9 am to 12 pm

Saturday 4/11:          9 am to 12 pm

Saturday 4/18:          9 am to 12 pm

Thank you for being part of the solution and thank you for the opportunity to serve as your County Mayor.  If you are interested in following the events of the county, please subscribe to my newsletter, and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you,

Allen Foster

Cumberland County Mayor

http://allenfoster.net

Published by allenfoster

Cumberland County Mayor

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