The following comments can also be found in video form on my Facebook page at:
The night of Christmas Eve is a special time for my family. Generally, the hustle and bustle of shopping and wrapping is mostly over, so it is a time that we focus on what Christmas really means to us. We normally start with a 5:00 PM Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at my church. It is one of those special times that allows us to focus on why we celebrate Christmas. As Christians, for us Christmas is about the peace, hope, and love that the birth of Jesus Christ brought to the world, and the church service always serves to set that tone with me. After the service we usually travel to the home of Rebecca’s parents to celebrate and to visit family we don’t get to see as often as we would like throughout the year.
On Christmas morning since my daughter Brooke was born, we gather as a family around the tree in the Livingroom. My Mom is there with us and I get my Bible and open it to Luke Chapter 2 and read verses 1 – 14 that describe the birth of Christ. I pray a prayer of thanks and ask that we remember the reason we celebrate Christmas as we go through the activities of the day. I mentioned that, for us, Christmas is about the celebration of Christ’s birth. We also celebrate in more secular ways. With Rebecca’s help, I cook a breakfast of pancakes – and even though Brooke is 27 years old, I always make her a Mickey Mouse pancake, and Shade always gets a few extras. Now as we are getting older, I really enjoy having my kids’ spouses, Trevor and Haley, as a part of our family. Later in the evening we celebrate with families of my sister and brother. It is a great time that we all look forward to each year.
But this year, things have to be different for my family. We have family members in quarantine, and we have the safety requests of Governor Lee to consider. We have masks, social distancing, and a lot of hand washing going on. Our Candlelight service had to be canceled, and Christmas with my family has to have a few necessarily changes. It may include Facetime or Skype or Zoom – we are still working that out, but we will still celebrate Christmas.
As each of you plan your Christmas celebrations and look forward to your own traditions, I ask that you think about the pandemic and how we gather. The Thanksgiving surge is real. It is taxing our medical community. If we add another surge from Christmas onto the one from Thanksgiving, we will have real problems. When making your plans, think about your family and friends that work in healthcare. Think about our EMS workers that treat patients in a confined area. Think about the Health Department workers that are performing tests and that are going to administer vaccine right through the holidays. Think about our clinics and doctors’ offices – think about our hospital.
As we go into this Holiday Season, I ask you to make wise choices that consider others. Merry Christmas, thank you, and God Bless.
COVID-19 Update (difference from previous day)
According to the Governor’s Office, most new COVID-19 cases are coming from small group gatherings like weddings, showers, family events, etc. The large increases we are seeing came from these types of smaller social gatherings – especially Thanksgiving gatherings. With Christmas upon us this week, we must do what we can to keep from overwhelming our healthcare system. To reduce the spread, I am asking everyone to take extra care and to follow the basic rules/guidelines that are in place.
- If you feel sick, get tested.
- STAY HOME after being tested until you get your result.
- Wear a mask when appropriate. It is not a political statement; it is about everyone’s health.
- Practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Follow the guidelines provided by Governor Lee and the CDC.
- Be smart and avoid places you feel are unsafe.
The following are the numbers from the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) for Cumberland County as of 5:00 PM (the state has permanently changed the time to 5:00 PM for the data release). The change from the prior day, not my prior newsletter, is in parenthesis.
726 active cases (-14)
3,208 inactive/recovered (+53)
48 deaths officially reported (+0)
3,982 positive cases (+39)
96 cumulative hospitalizations (+1)
39,083 negative tests (+132)
22.30% positivity rate – 7-day average
9.25% cumulative positivity rate (positive cases / positive cases + negative tests)
6.58% of residents have tested positive
1.20% of residents have active cases
These numbers are intended to be a brief summary of the information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). More detailed information can be found at the online dashboard: https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html
Click here for the TDH Quarantine & Isolation Calculator:
A new dashboard has been released for each county. You can now view the Cumberland County COVID-19 dashboard here:
School level COVID-19 data is now available online. Click this link to see the information available for Cumberland County:
Health Department COVID-19 Testing
The local Health Department is conducting COVID-19 testing, free of charge, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. All COVID-19 testing by the Health Department has been moved to the Community Complex at 1398 Livingston Road, Crossville, TN 38571. The testing will be conducted at that location for a minimum of two weeks. At that time the site will be evaluated to determine if testing will remain at the Community Complex or if it will move back to the Health Department. No doctor’s order is required, and no appointment is necessary. Anyone can be tested regardless of symptoms.
The Health Department is offering self-testing kits to adults three days a week to allow staff members to transition to vaccination of frontline health care providers and first responders. The new COVID-19 self-tests are offered to adults on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On these days, staff members will provide self-testing kits to adults who wish to be tested. Individuals will remain in their vehicles while completing paperwork and collecting their samples. Health Departments will submit the samples for testing.
Adults tested with the new self-tests will register and receive their results online. The self-tests are not approved for use in children under age 18. Children and adults unable to register online can still receive the standard nasal swab COVID-19 tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
TDH county health departments will be closed and will not offer COVID-19 testing December 24 – 25 and December 31, 2020 – January 1, 2021 in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
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.
Cumberland County Mayor