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Smithville City Hall closed due to outbreak of COVID-19 among staff but services will continue

December 30, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

Due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among members of the office staff, the Smithville City Hall building is closed to the public until further notice however all city services including water and sewer, garbage pickup, police and fire protection, etc will continue as normal.

Customers may drop off payments or other correspondence in the dropbox located near the drive through window.

If you need immediate attention please call and leave a message. For a water and sewer emergency call 615-597-4745 extension 1. Someone will return your call. As always someone is on duty at the police department to take your calls at 615-597-8210 extension 1.

Mayor Josh Miller said he apologizes for any inconvenience.

DeKalb 911 Cell Service Fully Restored

December 29, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

911 cell phone service has been fully restored in DeKalb County.

Brad Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb E911 Center said service became fully operational Monday night.

“As of last night (Monday) at around 9 p.m. AT& T restored the ability to deliver 911 calls to DeKalb County as well as many other counties in Tennessee. We are fully operational at this time and we continue to test our circuits routinely during the day and night shifts. The Nashville AT&T network center is continuing to make repairs and restore their building to a normal operational state. As repairs are being made, there may be short periods of controlled outages, but for the most part we have returned to a normal state of operation. We would like to remind the citizens that if they have trouble contacting 911 with their wireless devices to please use the 10 digit non-emergency number at 615-215-3000,” said Mullinax.

The AT&T outage was caused by the RV explosion in Nashville Christmas morning which affected 911 calling from cellular phones in much of Middle Tennessee, including DeKalb County.

Local Nurse Practitioner Addresses County Commission Seeking Mask Mandate

December 30, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

A local nurse practitioner who has cared for patients with Covid-19 over the last nine months and has suffered from the virus herself addressed the county commission Monday night to tell her story and to request a mask mandate for DeKalb County to slow the spread.

“I am here today to ask you do the right thing. Not the popular thing. Not the Democratic or Republican thing. But the right thing by the people of DeKalb County. I urge you to call for a mask mandate for our county,” said Gianna Owens.

In her remarks to the commission, Owens described the impact Covid has had on her personally and talked about the rising number of cases in DeKalb County and across the state as well as the risks of not wearing masks.

“I am here as both a patient and a nurse practitioner who has been caring for patients with Covid for the past 9 months,” said Owens.

“My story is not unique. It is the story of scores of people in DeKalb County, Tennessee and the US”.

“I was diagnosed with Covid pneumonia in September. At first all I had was a runny nose I thought were allergies. I had no fever, no cough or shortness of breath,” she said

“Even when I was transported to Cookeville Regional , I had no fever. What I had was a dangerous drop in my oxygen level and my heart rate normally 68 had shot up to 165”.

“The ER doctor said I was lucky I had picked it up early. I was treated with IV medications and given more medication to take at home,” Owens continued.

“I lost 14 days of work. I am lucky I have insurance and PTO”.

“Many others ignore, deny or hide their symptoms because without work they cannot feed their families. Many have no insurance or just do not believe Covid is real and they push till there is nothing else we can do but admit them to ICU”.

“On December 22 after a particularly difficult shift where I saw 50 patients, more than half with Covid I started to feel my heart summersault . I continued working chalking it off to stress. But then I felt it again and took my pulse and knew something was wrong,” said Owens.

“I was once again transported to Cookeville Regional, because we have no cardiologist on call. When I arrived, I was found to be in afib with rapid ventricular response and what that means is that my heart was beating so fast and irregularly that I was at risk of blowing a clot and having a stroke”.

“I was admitted to the cardiology unit where I was started on IV medication to prevent clots and put my heart back into rhythm”.

“An extensive work up revealed I had nothing. I have no hypertension, DM , high cholesterol or thyroid disorder . What I do have is still damage to my lungs from the Covid infection in September,” said Owens.

“The cardiologist, Doctor Dockery said they are seeing many patients with Covid and post Covid developing new cardiac disorders such as mine. He said I was lucky I caught it early. Others have had strokes and died”.

“I am what they call a long hauler. I have continued to suffer the effects of my infection. I am easily fatigued. I have hair loss. My lungs still have Covid signed on them and I will be on medication to prevent clots and keep my heart in rhythm until further notice,” she said.

“I have lost more days of work. I am lucky I have insurance and PTO. I will be back tomorrow to continue this fight but many others in DeKalb County , in Tennessee and in the United States will have long term disabilities and shortened life expectancy because of Covid”.

“We yet have to determine the extent because we healthcare workers have been going non stop to keep people alive”.

“Tennessee is leading the world in Covid cases per capita. People are suffering and dying. Our hospitals are in crisis and we are tired”.

“Hundreds of Tennesseans are losing their livelihoods and businesses. Today we have over 560,000 cases in Tennessee. More than 6,000 new cases added in the past 48 hours. More than 6,500 Tennesseans have died. DeKalb County is among the top counties in the State for case rate. We have added 1,500 new cases in the last 3 months and 30 are dead,” Owens continued.

“I am here to tell you Covid is real”.

“The Governor made it clear that he would not order a statewide mask mandate leaving counties and cities like ours to fend for themselves”.

“Vanderbilt has studied counties with mask mandates and those without and found that the counties with mandates had lower case and or death rates”.

“Were you not wearing a mask when you became infected you may ask? I was but the person that infected me was not and I could not demand they wear a mask when we do not have a mandate,” said Owens.

“Mayor, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen I am here today to ask you do the right thing, Not the popular thing. Not the Democratic or Republican thing. But the right thing by the people of DeKalb County”.

“I want our economy to remain open but I also want us to be alive”.

“How many more need to die, be infected or have permanent disabilities?”

“How many more must lose their livelihoods?”

“I urge you to call for a mask mandate for our county”.

“Do the right thing,” Owens concluded.

No action was taken on a local mask mandate but the county commission adopted a resolution calling on the Governor and State Legislature to issue a statewide mask mandate.

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