MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are three counties in Tennessee who, so far, do not have a single case of COVID-19. One of those counties is Crockett County in west Tennessee.
The Investigators drove there to find out what, if anything, county officials are doing differently to fend off the disease.
We met Madison Beaird, who opened Grow Nutrition in Downtown Alamo less than two weeks ago, right as most other businesses were closing down.
“We went back and forth, back and forth,” she told the Investigators. “Was it a good time to open? Was it a safe time to open?”
While Grow Nutrition is not open to dine-in customers, they’re offering curbside pick-up and taking precautions.
“Every time we get a card we wash it. We are being very cautious and watching those numbers very closely,” Beaird said.
The numbers Beaird is watching are released by the Tennessee Department of Health every day. They show the total number of COVID-19 cases in each county.
Crockett, Hancock and Pickett Counties each do not have a single case of COVID-19. Crockett County is the only place in West Tennessee.
“Basically, I’ve just asked people, hey let’s show the rest of Tennessee how it is to try and combat this virus,” said Mayor Gary Reasons, Crockett County Mayor.
Reasons told The Investigators that government leaders from across the state have reached out about their number.
“They say ‘what’s the deal?’ Why don’t we have any cases? All of them want to know are we not testing enough?”
So far, 90 Crockett County residents have been tested for COVID-19 and their results were negative.
Hancock has 21 negative tests while Pickett County has 44.
Other counties with fewer total people tested than Crockett have at least one confirmed case, including Lewis and Perry Counties.
Also, some residents leave Crockett County to work in neighboring counties, which have dozens of confirmed cases.
Mayor Reasons said the county may have had cases in the past that went undetected.
“A tremendous amount of people were going to their local clinics that were testing negative for flu,” he said. “At the time, we weren’t looking for the coronavirus.”
The Mayor said the county began testing at the Crockett County Health Department on March 20. Around the same time, four other clinics began testing for COVID-19 as well.
In comparison, the first drive-through testing facility in Shelby County opened on March 17.
Also, state test results are assigned by where a person lives, not where they took the test.
The Investigators asked the Mayor why he thinks the county doesn’t have COVID-19.
“There’s not one single answer. Possibly because we don’t have any big box stores and we are so rural. We don’t have the potential for these large gatherings like some of these other counties have.”
He also credits people and businesses for taking the necessary precautions.
“We are just blessed not to have a case in Crockett County and I hope it stays that way,” said Beaird.
Mayor Reasons believes it’s unlikely.
“Just because we have zero cases do not let your guard down," he said. Please continue to be very proactive on social distancing."