A state of emergency has been declared in Sumner County following a spike in the number of known local COVID-19 cases.
The decision, announced Friday by Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt, came shortly after the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed there have been 11 cases of the virus in the county – the third most statewide. The first two local cases were reported Wednesday.
"I am asking everybody to stay home,” Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt told the Gallatin News by phone Friday. “This thing is super contagious, more contagious than we thought. It is spreading rapidly through the county and it’s going to inundate our health system if we can’t get our arms wrapped around this thing.”
Some medical personnel have been quarantined while others have contracted COVID-19 after transporting patients already infected with the virus, Holt added.
At 4:30 p.m. Friday, all Sumner County government buildings were closed until further notice unless an emergency or essential service. The county will continue running essential government functions and all county employees will be paid during the emergency declaration.
Holt said he had spoken with Nashville Mayor John Cooper about the need to work together as a region in order to deal with the response to the outbreak.
“It’s spreading like wildfire if we don’t start acting responsibly,” Holt added. “We’ve got to get the word out and get people to act responsibly.”
As of Friday, there were 228 confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Davidson County had the largest number of cases with 101 followed by Williamson with 35.
Nationwide, there were 15,219 cases in 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The total number of deaths was 201.
The CDC has encouraged everyone to clean their hands often, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, avoid face contact with unwashed hands, avoid contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and others in areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
Anyone who is sick should stay home, cover coughs and sneezes, wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and wear a facemask when around other people.