County Mayor’s Notes – October 7th, 2020

Over the next few editions of my County Mayor’s Notes I will be giving an overview of broadband service here in Cumberland County.

The COVID-19 update follows the Broadband Grant Eligibility update.

Broadband Grant Eligibility
In the last newsletter, I discussed how Cumberland County ended up with poor broadband access and why we were struggling to get grant funding.  Check out that newsletter if you missed it as today’s update builds on that information.

While working on the issues the issues that were holding us back, I talked with my contacts at the State and was told Cumberland County would be considered grant eligible if we could prove the FCC maps were incorrect. The State actually changed grant eligibility requirements to allow areas showing 25/3 service to apply.  The application and supporting data can be used to show the 25/3 service is not actually being provided.  That is why it is important for you to respond to survey requests by providers that are working on grant applications every time you are asked.

That is also why the data from last year’s broadband survey is important.  At the time of the survey, of those respondents claiming service provided by Frontier, approximately 99% reported less than 25 Mbps download speed, 85% reported less than 10 Mbps, 52% reported less than 5 Mbps, and 28% reported less than 3 Mbps download speed.  Speed tests rely on many factors and can sometimes be inaccurate, but the data received seemed very consistent among those choosing to respond.

During this time, I began to meet with the providers in Cumberland County.  I talked to individuals at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), State and Federal Senators legislators, as well as providers including Frontier, Volunteer Electric Cooperative (VEC), Ben Lomand (aka Vol First), Bledsoe Telephone Company (BTC), Charter, Comcast, and Twin Lakes.  I have even talked to the Tennessee Public Utility Commission (PUC) about the issues in our county.  Many of those discussions centered on how we can get better broadband service here.

The result is that five grant applications, one federal and four state, were submitted.  In the next newsletter we will discuss grants awarded.

COVID-19 Update (difference from previous day)
The following are the numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) for Cumberland County as of 2:00 PM today. The change from the prior day, not my prior newsletter, is in parenthesis.

Now is not the time to let our guard down.  Please continue social distancing and making wise choices to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

143 active cases (+23)
1,175 inactive/recovered (+9)
21 deaths officially reported (+0)
1,339 positive cases (+32)
61 hospitalizations (+0) *
23,990 negative tests (+217)
87.75% Inactive/Recovered
5.29% cumulative positivity rate (positive cases / positive cases + negative tests)
2.21% of residents have tested positive
0.24% of residents have active cases

These numbers are intended to be a brief summary of the information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health. More detailed information can be found at the online dashboard: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html

School level COVID-19 data is now available online.  Click this link to see the information available for Cumberland County:
https://districtinformation.tnedu.gov/covid-information/search/-1/180

* Hospitalization data reflect the cumulative (total) number of cases of Cumberland County residents that were ever hospitalized from COVID-19. It does not reflect the number of people currently hospitalized. This does not mean the patient was hospitalized in Cumberland County. It means that a Cumberland County resident was hospitalized at some point.

Health Department Testing and Face Coverings
Masks/face coverings can help to slow the spread by slowing or stopping the droplets that carry the virus.  Free cloth masks are available upon request at the Health Department for those that want one. Stop by Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm to pick one up for each individual in your household.

The local Health Department (1503 South Main Street) is conducting drive through testing, free of charge, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.   No doctor’s order is required, and no appointment is necessary. Anyone can be tested regardless of symptoms.

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 hearing my thoughts and views on news, events, and activities in Cumberland 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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