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County gets D in staying home
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Warren County residents are not doing well when it comes to staying home and practicing social distancing -- and we have the letter grade to prove it.

According to a map released by Unacast in which each state and county were issued a letter grade, A through F, for their social distancing behavior, Warren County was given a D. 

The report card is a snapshot of how well people are following social distancing initiatives, but it is not considered scientific. Social distancing is the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Unacast used cellphone data to generate its Social Distancing Scoreboard. Prior to generating its scoreboard, Unacast released cellphone tracking data for the last two weeks in March to path any changes in travel in response to social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19.

The travel report was also not promising for Warren County. Travel increased 20 percent from Feb. 16 thru March 29. While work-related travel decreased 33 percent during that time, residents increased travel to places like grocery stores and pharmacies by 40 percent and places of residence by 13 percent.

The information shows residents are struggling to stay at home, a situation County Executive Jimmy Haley hopes will not continue. 

“I feel some people are still in a panic mode and going to stores more often in fear of running out of supplies,” said Haley. “This pandemic is not over. The situation is still serious. The safety of all residents is vital to the future of our community. The more we do now to contain and mitigate the COVID virus, the quicker the recovery will be.” 

Unacast’s report on travel used a baseline – the median value, for the corresponding day of the week, during the five-week period from Jan. 3 to Feb. 6, 2020. 

Information was gathered in six areas: work, grocery and pharmacy, places of residency, transit stations, parks, and retail and recreation. Categories without enough data to provide a complete analysis were left blank.

Warren County’s retail and recreation had a zero percent change from its baseline, while not enough data existed in the categories of transit stations and parks. 

The statewide numbers show that some communities are doing better than others in resisting the urge to be out and about. In neighboring counties:

Coffee – While residential travel increased 14 percent, decreased were workplace travel by 33 percent, retail and recreation by 29 percent, grocery and pharmacy by 6 percent, transit stations by 35 percent.

Cannon – Workplace travel decreased by 24 percent. Retail and recreation increased 34 percent, and grocery and pharmacy increased 15 percent. No data in three categories. 

DeKalb – Grocery and pharmacy travel increased 26 percent. Decreased was workplace travel by 34 percent and retail and recreation by 1 percent. No data in three categories.

Grundy – Decreased were both workplace travel by 33 percent and retail and recreation by 52 percent. Increase by 4 percent was travel to grocery and pharmacy. No data in three categories. 

When Gov. Bill Lee issued a stay-at-home mandate last Thursday to replace his previous order, he pointed to data changing his stance. 

“In recent days we have seen data indicating that movement may be increasing and we must get these numbers trending back down,” said Lee. “I have updated my previous executive order to clearly require that Tennesseans stay at home unless they are carrying out essential activities.”

Lee’s executive order remains in effect through April 14, which is this coming Tuesday.