After the TN Dept. of Health reported Scott County’s first coronavirus case since April 15 in its daily data dump on Monday, health officials at the county level have determined that there has not been a new case of the virus locally.
The Dept. of Health reported the new case in Scott County as one of more than 600 across the state on Monday. It would’ve been the 12th case of the virus in Scott County, and the only active case.
However, there was an immediate red flag — no one within the Scott County Health Department was familiar with the case. When someone tests positive for the virus in Scott County, reporting procedures require that information about the case be provided to the local health department.
It isn’t impossible for a patient to test positive outside the county and the local health department not learn of it immediately — if, for example, an Oneida resident tested positive at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, reporting procedures would require the Knox County Health Department to be notified by UTMC, but the patient would be listed with Scott County, their county of residence. That was the case with Scott County’s eighth case of coronavirus last month, which took several days for local health department officials to confirm.
Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals said Monday afternoon that the local health department was working to confirm the reported case of coronavirus. On Tuesday, the mayor said that the health department had notified him that the case was determined to be a data-entry error at the state level.
The end result is that Scott County remains at 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with no new cases since April 15, and no active cases. There are a total of 17 active cases in adjoining counties — six in Anderson County, six in Morgan County, three in Fentress County and two in Pickett County. Five of the active cases in Morgan County are at the state prison near Wartburg.
Monday’s data error was not the first to impact Scott County. It was the second time a 12th case of the virus has been erroneously reported in Scott County. It first happened earlier this month. Across the state, where data-entry personnel have been responsible for logging more than 18,000 coronavirus cases since the Covid-19 outbreak began, minor errors have been common and have impacted nearly every county. They are usually corrected in a matter of days. According to Mayor Tibbals, officials at the Scott County Health Department have asked the state Dept. of Health to remove the 12th case from Scott County’s tally.