Fox 17 News has learned that Lebanon's Administrative building in Wilson County is closing down temporarily after eight employees test positive for COVID-19, according to city officials. This comes the same week that Wilson County's mask mandate is set to expire on Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m.
The building in Lebanon is being cleaned and sanitized right now, and even Lebanon's Mayor is under quarantine after testing positive earlier in September. And while all of this is going on, the county's mask mandate expires this week, so Fox 17 News went to city leaders to find out why.
First, we requested an interview with Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, but were told he couldn't fit it into his schedule today.
So we went to the State Health Department to get an interview with an expert in Wilson County, but they declined us too.
Next, we called all 25 members of the Wilson County Commission.
Commissioner Chris Dowell, who is also Lebanon's Fire Chief, agreed to talk with us over the phone. He says he supports the Mayor's decision.
"I actually think it's time. I think it's time that we lift it," Dowell said. "There's never going to be zero cases in Wilson County, so if we're waiting for that magic number, it's not going to ever appear."
Dowell says the lack of a county mandate doesn't stop businesses and other entities from requiring masks inside.
"I think people are ready for it to just be done with it. Still, like I said, wear the mask if you want to, continue social distancing, and just take care of each other by respecting other people's rights."
Wilson County's mandate first started in Mid-July. At that time, Mayor Hutto said the county's 14-day average was over 40 new cases reported per day.
The state health department's numbers from today show that the average is now down to just over 23.
According to the state's numbers, Wilson County has a total of 3,538 positive cases, which is 1.8% of all cases statewide. There have been 45 deaths, which is 1.9% of deaths in the state.
The Mayor's decision to end the county-wide mask mandate doesn't impact county schools, which will still require masks in Wilson County.