Hopkins County Emergency Management held a press conference with local media to answer question regarding COVID-19 in the community. Hopkins County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Endsley, Judge Robert Newsom, Justice of the Peace BJ Teer, Justice of the Peace Brad Cummings, Sheriff Lewis Tatum, SSPD Chief Jason Ricketson, Sulphur Springs Fire Chief David James, Hopkins County Communications Supervisor David Ray, and Hopkins County Emergency Management Specialist Kristi Springfield were in attendance.
Endsley and Ricketson announced that Hopkins County Emergency Management and Sulphur Springs Emergency Management have joined together and will be working together to handle our local COVID-19 response. HCEM has also been in contact with Como, Cumby, and Tira’s mayors and keeping them apprised on developments.
HCEM will not be reporting test numbers in the future and whether they’re negative. They will provide updates daily to the media and on their Facebook page on the number of confirmed cases. There are still no confirmed cases in Hopkins County at this time.
Ricketson said, “97% of the tests are coming back negative. We’re going to be notifying on confirmed cases but that will be the only notifications we’ll give out.” Ricketson also confirmed that a plan is in place to notify the community once there is a confirmed case.
Newsom said that mandated closures will be a last resort and are not expected. They are considering options for limiting group sizes for bars, restaurants, gyms, and theaters but have not made a decision at this time. A decision to close the Hopkins County Civic Center is still under discussion.
Judge Newsom spoke about our county’s position moving forward, “The prognosis looks positive for us. We’re doing a good job.”
Endsley recommended that anyone wondering if they should be tested should try to identify whether their symptoms are consistent with COVID-19. Symptoms are fever over 100 degrees, cough and/or shortness of breath. HCEM is recommending to first call into your primary physician to see if an office trip is warranted. This will help keep our medical resources from being overwhelmed.
The officials on the call also stressed supporting local businesses such as restaurants and retail that are experiencing tough times. Many are offering curbside or delivery services to cooperate with social distancing guidelines.