Julie Miller

Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller addresses the community during a Facebook Live press briefing on March 17, 2020.

MOUNT VERNON – A dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases has caused Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller to issue additional restrictions for all of Knox County effective immediately.

The new restrictions limit gatherings of any size; recommend that people who can work from home, do so; and orders businesses to enforce mandatory mask wearing by employees and customers.

In just the first 10 days of November, Knox County has recorded more than 200 positive cases of COVID-19, which is more than the total recorded in October and four times the total recorded in September.

There are 25 cases that are hospitalized, which is triple the number hospitalized last week. Additionally, Knox Public Health has directed closure of a preschool due to several infected staff and students.

Miller said with the rise in positive cases it was necessary to issue the increased risk advisory to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The increase involves people of all ages and all walks of life, including pregnant women, the employed who now cannot go to work, school-aged children and church goers,” said Miller.

“The main reason for the increase is attributed to community spread – the unintentional passing of the virus to one another from close contact in stores, businesses, churches, schools and at home.”

Miller said that if positive cases continue to increase, she will be forced to issue more restrictions which will require people to stay home, limit unnecessary travel, prohibit gatherings and cancel school athletics and extracurricular activities.

These restrictions will only apply if COVID-19 cases continue to dramatically increase.

“Nine months into the pandemic we have let our guard down,” said Miller. “People are not wearing masks. They are not social distancing. As a community we need to take care of one another, it’s time to step up and mask-up.”

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