County Mayor’s Notes – December 31st, 2021

It is hard to believe that another year has already gone by!  COVID-19 is still with us, and has served to make us evaluate who we are and what we believe in.  In Cumberland County, we have faced the challenge while still respecting individual freedom, liberty, and rights.  For the most part, we have done so while respecting each other.

There have been a lot of positive things that have happened in 2021 as well, and I believe it all starts with working together.  The County, Crossville, Crab Orchard, Pleasant Hill, state, federal, POAs, civic organizations – all have worked together to build relationships and to make things happen.  Broadband providers in Cumberland County have received six grants with two coming in 2021.  These funding opportunities represent approximately $20.5 million allocated toward the issue, with over 9,125 new locations that have or will receive new broadband service soon.  More information will be coming in early Spring about additional grants.  Detailed information is always updated here as well: https://allenfoster.net/broadband/.

We have worked to improve our first responder services with pay adjustments, equipment, and personnel, because in Cumberland County we don’t defund our police, we back our blue and other first responders.  We have extricated ourselves from federal lawsuits, and have seen many new businesses open or prepare to open.  Rural King, Highway 55, Harbor Freight, Buc-ee’s, Whisper Aero, the motorsports park, and several new locally owned businesses are a few of the highlights.  We also launched https://explorecrossville.com/ as a partnership with the County, the City of Crossville, and the Chamber of Commerce via the Joint Economic and Community Development Board (JECDB) and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Even if you have lived here your entire life, you will likely find something you didn’t know about, or remember something you had forgotten.

There are other good things in the works, and things I haven’t mentioned, but I want to be clear. Some of these things required a lot of work by the County, the City of Crossville, or both. Some just required that we have local officials the get along are working together to create an environment for success. Crossville Mayor Mayberry has been an invaluable mentor, partner, and friend. He deserves much of the credit for the great things that are happening. We are both blessed to work with a Commission and Council that are committed to working for our area as well.

I love this community.  Even during a pandemic and while facing other major issues, there has never been a day that I have dreaded going into the office.  Working for the people of Cumberland County is a passion for me and I am thankful to you for allowing me to serve.

COVID-19 Update
According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), in Cumberland County there are 192 active cases of COVID-19.  There have been 275 deaths reported as of the date of this newsletter.  Datasets for additional information can be found at https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/data/downloadable-datasets.html.

About a week ago, approximately 29 deaths were added to the total in our county.  I have reached out to the Health Department and was told that there was a year end data reconciliation.  According to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH):

“Year-end data reconciliation is an important step to ensure the public has an accurate view of how COVID-19 has affected our state this year and also identify areas where the department can improve services,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Data reporting for COVID-19 is unique, as it is the only infectious disease where real-time progression is tracked from positive test to death, compared to typical monthly or annual reports.”

TDH anticipates changes to national COVID-19 reporting standards in early 2022 based on recommendations from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and has reconciled data to comply with upcoming standards. This data update will be completed the week of January 4. “This enhanced review is a valuable process, and I’ve encouraged my colleagues in other states to do the same,” said Piercey. “Trust in public health data is key to our response and data accuracy is a top priority for TDH.”

The TDH Office of State Chief Medical Examiner reconciled outstanding death certificates with COVID-19 as an underlying cause of death, bringing COVID-19 fatalities spanning spring 2020- December 2021 to 20,644.

The lag in death reporting data can be contributed to many factors including the manual process most providers and facilities undertake, the increase in at-home deaths, and the strain on the public health infrastructure during case surges. On average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that approximately 75 percent of mortality data is complete by eight weeks, given the time it takes to determine the cause of death in some cases.

“COVID-19 death certificate processing is complex, and the department is committed to continuously improving information flow,” said Piercey. “As we continue to analyze Tennessee death data, we have seen a year-over-year increase in COVID deaths occurring at home. This is a trend we will further examine and assess how the department can respond.”

I have also had several questions about the variants here in Cumberland County.  According to TDH, there is no process for tracking county level transmission of COVID-19 variants.  The Critical Indicators Report by TDH is available and will be updated soon (https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/cedep/novel-coronavirus/CriticalIndicatorReport.pdf).  You can see percentage of cases by variant by HHS region at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions.

State Vaccination Dashboard:
https://data.tn.gov/t/Public/views/TennIISCOVID-19VaccineReporting/SUMMARY?:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=n&:showVizHome=n&:origin=viz_share_link&:toolbar=no&:embed=yes

Cumberland County Health Department Update

The Cumberland County Health Department is currently offering the Pfizer COVID 19 Vaccine and Booster.  The State of Tennessee has recognized certain Health Departments as Pfizer only.  Unfortunately, the Moderna Booster is not available at the Cumberland County Health Department at this time.  There are several other local facilities that offer Moderna. A complete list can be found at www.vaccines.gov. If the status changes for the Moderna vaccine and booster, the Health Department will send out an announcement. 

COVID-19 Testing Hours Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 11:00 am (MWF are self-testing days)
COVID-19 Vaccine Hours Monday – Friday, 8:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Beginning Tuesday, January 4th, 2022, all COVID-19 Vaccines will be given inside the Health Department.  No drive-thru option will be offered.

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