MARTIN (January 6) – Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum told those at a Kiwanis Zoom meeting on January 6 that many challenges and concerns are ahead for all in Weakley County as everyone deals with COVID-19. He also expressed optimism that good things will continue to take place in the county, especially if people follow the recommended safety measures to continue combating the current pandemic.
After a welcome from Kiwanis President Annie Jones, Earl Wright introduced Mayor Bynum with these words, “Mayor Bynum is a wonder for Weakley County. He brings solutions to help Weakley County be a better place for all.”
Mayor Bynum explained to the group, on December 28, 2020, an Executive Order was issued from his office to extend until February 27 the requirement of wearing masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The first executive order pertaining to masks was issued August 11, 2020.
The complete “Declaration of Public Health Emergency in Weakley County” can be found on the Weakley County website, along with a message from the mayor that states in part, “As we move through some uncertain and challenging times, Weakley County government will utilize every opportunity to be as forthcoming with information as possible. We are continually in communication with local, state, regional, national health and public safety organizations in an effort to become as educated and informed as possible.”
Mayor Bynum stressed to Kiwanis members two of the biggest concerns during this time when the “safer at home” challenge is in place are about “long-haulers” and hospital capacity.
As defined, long-haulers include two groups of people affected by the virus. They are those who experience some permanent damage to their lungs, heart, kidneys, or brain, and those who continue to experience debilitating symptoms despite no detectable damage to these organs.
“It’s a strange disease,” Mayor Bynum said, “that is an ongoing challenge until, perhaps 2022, when 70-80 percent of the population will have been vaccinated.”
Mayor Bynum said those at the Weakley County Health Department are “trying to do the very best job they can,” yet there are challenges with the distribution of the vaccine.
“For example,” he said, “1,000 doses were expected on Monday, and only 100 were shipped.” He said that as of January 6, 600 names were on the waiting list.
He urged all to be patient and to know that many are working to get the needed doses of vaccine in Weakley County.
Another huge concern, the mayor said, is hospital capacity. He said in West Tennessee there are 628 beds available and currently 209 have COVID-19 patients.
Mayor Bynum noted that the first case in Weakley County was on March 28, 2020, and now there are 3,189 known cases. Forty-nine persons have died.
Information about COVID-19 is widely available on the county government website, and staff members have compiled a comprehensive Weakley County Services Resource Guide with information about services that exist in the community during this pandemic.
A lifelong resident of Weakley County, Mayor Bynum was first elected to the office of Weakley County Mayor in 2014 and was re-elected for a second term in 2018. He is a recent survivor of COVID-19, after contracting the virus in mid-December.
Fifteen people attended the January 6, 2020, Zoom Kiwanis meeting with Mayor Bynum. Kiwanis has met via Zoom since last May and continues to support community initiatives.