Contributed by Charlene O’Dell, Interim Director
Per Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 59 on Aug. 28, senior centers in Tennessee are to remain closed until Sept. 30, 2020. However, as has happened several times since March, Gov. Lee will evaluate the COVID-19 situation a day or so before that deadline and might issue another executive order to extend the closures.
As soon as our staff is aware that Gov. Lee has lifted the restriction, we will announce the date of our re-opening by several means and describe the re-opening protocols that have been developed in conjunction with the TN Commission on Aging and First TN Area Agency on Aging and Disability.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to utilize safety measures of frequent hand washing, six-foot distancing whenever possible and wearing masks in indoor public spaces or when close to an individual who is vulnerable because of underlying health conditions.
And consider this recent comment by Jamie Swift, BALLAD Hospital Chief Infection Prevention Officer, concerning a CDC report which indicates 94 percent of evaluated COVID-19 deaths have occurred among people with existing medical conditions: “A lot of people are looking at that 94 percent and thinking that it’s just old, critically ill people who are dying and that COVID-19 is not what caused their death, and that’s simply not true. These are deaths that are preventable, so if these people had not gotten COVID-19, the expectation is that they would still be alive today.” (From interview by David Floyd in Johnson City Press, Sept. 3, 2020)
Contrary to some beliefs, COVID-19 is not just another type of flu! It can cause death or lasting health problems for any age person. I personally know COVID-19 patients who recovered at home with a mild case, some who have mostly recovered after receiving treatment in a hospital, and some who passed away after two or three weeks of intensive hospital care. Tragically, one situation involved three family members. Even though the overall infection rate is low, on a personal level that is irrelevant if you or a friend or family member become infected.
On a brighter note, the new van that Clinchfield Senior Adult Center is scheduled to receive through a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant is still on track for delivery, hopefully in October.
Due to the coronavirus effect on manufacturing, the projected delivery date has changed three times since February, but we were informed a few days ago that we can expect a request for the cash match in a couple of weeks along with the final contract.
Due to the generosity of several individuals prior to February 2020, CSAC received donations for the match which will cover all except approximately $1,000 of the total.
Because of virus restrictions on local festivals and other annual events, the Senior Center has been unable to participate in any fundraising activities this year, so donations of any size toward the match will be greatly appreciated. Donations may be mailed to CSAC at P.O. Box 778, Erwin, TN 37650.
We want any senior in Unicoi County to feel free to contact us by calling 743-5111 or by email at [email protected] if you have need of assistance. If there is no answer, leave a message and a staff person will return the call.
Clinchfield Senior Adult Center is located at 220 Union St. in downtown Erwin and is closed to the public until further notice.