Knox County commissioner Richie Beeler sick with COVID-19, two others told to stay home

One Knox County commissioner has tested positive for COVID-19 and two others have been instructed by the health department to stay home, according to Knox County Commission Chair Hugh Nystrom.

Eighth District Commissioner Richie Beeler confirmed he tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He spoke to Knox News via text message on Saturday because talking, he said, “really aggravates my cough.”

“The cough is the most aggravating because it makes talking difficult, but the fever definitely feels the worst,” he wrote. “I’m sitting here now at 101.4 and don’t even really feel ‘hot.’ Just awful.”

Beeler said he started feeling sick Tuesday afternoon and went to get tested on Wednesday. He hunkered down at home and received his positive result Friday.

On Aug. 17, the day before Beeler began feeling ill, he attended an in-person work session at the City-County Building’s main assembly room. He said he wore a mask and stressed that Nystrom has made sure the commission has followed all of the recommended safety measures when meeting in person.

“We are socially distanced in our seating, and everyone wears a mask,” Beeler wrote. “So I think to err on the side of caution, (the health department’s) only concern was for the two commissioners that sat on either side of me.”

Ninth District Commissioner Carson Dailey and Seventh District Commissioner Charles Busler confirmed they’ve been told to stay home through the end of August.

“No symptoms but will be following the rules and staying home,” Dailey wrote in a Facebook post Friday.

Busler, who is 71, said he takes proper precautions when in public because he’s in a higher-risk age group. He told Knox News he felt “great” as of Saturday.

The commission had been holding its meetings in person at the City-County Building since June but plans to hold its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, virtually via the video app Zoom. Nystrom said he wanted to change the format so the three commissioners who must stay home can participate.

“We’re trying to do our best for the county,” Nystrom said.


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