After Rhea County was notified yesterday of their first case of the coronavirus, Sheriff Mike Neal issued the following statement this morning:
“Citizens of Rhea County:
During these complicated times, I want to urge you to keep safety as your utmost concern. As sheriff, the safety of the citizens of Rhea County is one of the most important segments of my job. At the present time, the numbers of cases of COVID-19 are extremely low in Rhea County – one of the lowest amongst the state. In order to keep the numbers to a minimum, everyone needs to work together keeping safety in mind. I have been in contact with other officials throughout the state and have already implemented many changes within my department including closing the front office. As always, in case of emergency, dial 911. If you need to reach the sheriff’s department, the phone number is (423) 775-7837.
I know there has been a lot of information coming from different government institutions, but I would like to give you a few reminders. Please keep travel down to a minimum; traveling to and from work or gathering essential items from a store are completely acceptable. The more that people remain socially distant, the less time this takes to go away. During these times, I would also urge you to increase your communication with your family and any elderly people that you may know. With people not being able to go visit as much now, it is crucial to maintain communication of some sort whether it be via a telephone call, email, or a simple text message.
Again, I want to emphasize that it is up to us, the citizens of Rhea County, to keep this COVID-19 Virus to a minimum. The more that we can work together to remain socially distant from others, the better off the county will be and the quicker life gets back to normal. Keep in mind that when groups of people gather, not only the people there could be impacted but also the people they come in contact with – like their families. It is my utmost priority to keep the citizens of Rhea County safe. I ask that each of you do your part to help keep the numbers down in Rhea County.
Sheriff Mike Neal”