By Elaine Davis
For an hour yesterday, state Senator Becky Massey along with Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department, answered questions from constituents on a tele-conference call regarding the COVID-19 virus.
Questions ranged from health and business concerns to daily life impacts. Several callers asked about what efforts are being made to help small businesses and employees. Another caller specifically asked if the Hall Tax deadline would be delayed from April 15 to July 15 with Governor Lee’s announcement that the Business Franchise & Excise Tax had been delayed. Senator Massey responded that several agencies are trying to assist—from unemployment benefits to small business loans that are being granted by the Small Business Administration. Sen. Massey said that more assistance may become available once the federal CARE package is passed.
There were some specific questions from individuals that could be applicable to many. A parish priest advised that visitation restrictions at hospitals create a conflict with not being able to perform last rites on some of his parishioners. Another resident requested more information about the deadline for service hours for Tennessee Promise participants. In both cases, Senator Massey thanked those for their questions and promised she would investigate further. She asked that they call her office at (615) 741-1648 for the answers and let others on the call know that those answers would be included in her electronic newsletter.
Dr. Buchanan made sure that folks had the KCHD’s COVID Information Line of (865) 215-5555. In responding to an array of health concerns, Dr. Buchanan advised all that it is important to CALL AHEAD to either your primary care physician, urgent care center or hospital to be advised how best to be tested, treated or cared for a variety of symptoms. Medical professionals can then prepare for individuals that may need to be tested to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. She explained that when fever is present is when the virus is most shed or contagious.
One senior, who has preconditions, explained that she does not have computer so she is unable to online shop for food, medicine, or other necessities. Senator Massey shared several solutions by advising her to call the grocery store directly to see if they can accommodate her, then also area churches and neighborhood groups are available to help. Finally Sen. Massey mentioned for those that do have online capabilities a Facebook Group Page entitled Delivery Assist 865 as another resource to request delivery of items.
Again, wash your hands, practice social distancing and let’s help each other where and when we can.