Posted 7/28/20

In a proactive bid to stymie the continuing rise in new COVID-19 cases, Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis on Monday unveiled a new public service campaign aimed at …

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In a proactive bid to stymie the continuing rise in new COVID-19 cases, Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis on Monday unveiled a new public service campaign aimed at reminding local residents of the pandemic's severity.

In the joint initiative, the mayors are promoting the "Four Steps" that they believe "... will pay big dividends across Bradley County and the city of Cleveland as we mitigate this virus."

However, if the strategy is to succeed, community residents must take seriously the spread of the coronavirus and heed the four steps, the mayors agreed. The recommendations, which have been preached by Davis during recent Bradley County Commission meetings, include 1) wash hands; 2) avoid crowds; 3) stay six feet apart; and 4) wear a mask.

The local government administrators revealed the PSA campaign in advance of scheduled sessions of the Cleveland City Council on Monday afternoon and the Bradley County Commission later that night.

To kick off the PSA campaign, the mayors authorized two government representatives — Corey Divel, who is an assistant to Cleveland City Manager Joe Fivas, and Lindsay Hathcock, who is executive assistant to Davis — to design and to create a slate for media outlets to distribute across the city of Cleveland and Bradley County as they continue their coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are distributing this today for the first time as a PSA," Brooks said.

The Cleveland mayor added, "It has been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Accordingly, thousands of lives can be saved all across our state ... if we adhere to these four simple steps."

Brooks is especially incentivized to promote the public-awareness campaign because he continues his recovery from the "double whammy" of double pneumonia and COVID-19. Early in his illness, Brooks tested negative twice for the coronavirus; however, a third test confirmed his COVID-19 infection.

In the early stages of his illness, Brooks was hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit at Tennova Healthcare-Cleveland for 11 days. Since being discharged, he has continued his recovery from home, a healing that doctors advised could take several weeks.

On Monday, Brooks told the Cleveland Daily Banner a fourth COVID-19 test had returned negative. Although he still struggles with intermittent fatigue, the mayor said he plans to return to office duties next week.

Davis, who recently declined to mandate the wearing of face coverings in public in Bradley County, nonetheless has spent time and energy encouraging local residents to wear them, and to follow all four steps. In recent weeks, Davis has updated members of the Bradley County Commission on the need to follow the four steps. As for declaring a mandate on the wearing of face masks, Davis has stressed he feels such an edict would be unenforceable.

But, to accent his belief in the severity of the pandemic, and its continuing spread across Tennessee and throughout Bradley County — and to protect himself, his family and others — Davis himself wears a face mask regularly while in public and during government meetings. He takes it off during public gatherings only to be able to talk.

"Following these four guidelines is crucial in keeping this virus in check," Davis said in Monday's joint announcement with Brooks. "It doesn't hurt anyone to follow them, and it doesn't cost any money. If everyone follows the four guidelines, we can get this under control."

Brooks unconditionally backed Davis' concerns.

"I wholeheartedly agree with this PSA and with Mayor Davis' comments," Brooks said. "We must do all we can to protect our families, our friends and ourselves from this dangerous virus."

Brooks targeted those who doubt the pandemic's threat.

"This is not a hoax," the Cleveland mayor stressed. "This is not the flu. This virus is real and we can mitigate the effects in our city and county with these 'Four Steps.'"

Brooks added, "Please join Mayor Davis and me in doing these simple guidelines."

In closing, the mayoral tandem directed their proclamation to the entire Cleveland and Bradley County community, "Together, we can make a difference and defeat this virus!"

As of Monday, the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bradley County had jumped by 43. On Sunday, it increased by 59. Currently, the community — since early March — has recorded 1,492 confirmed or probable cases of the coronavirus. Of that number, there have been 974 recoveries.

The number includes 508 active cases, which is the statistic that Davis said he follows most. The active-case number had increased by 36 from Saturday to Sunday, and by 11 from Sunday to Monday.

Bradley County has now recorded 10 COVID-19 related deaths, the latest of which was confirmed Monday.

Also, the Tennessee Department of Public Health has reported 11,681 negative tests in Bradley County. This represents an increase of 536 from Saturday to Sunday, and 383 from Sunday to Monday.

On the down side, however, for several days now, the number of new cases has consistently exceeded the number of recoveries, which adds to the amount of active cases of COVID-19 in Bradley County.


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