As expected, three new cases of coronavirus were reported in Scott County on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active local cases to six, after a person who previously tested positive was classified as recovered on Wednesday.
It is the most active cases Scott County has had since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in East Tennessee.
The new patients reportedly include an elderly woman.
Additionally, courts in Scott County were closed for cleaning on Wednesday after contact tracing related to one of the county’s positive cases revealed that an employee had contact with someone who had tested positive last weekend.
Scott County Mayor Jeff Tibbals told the Independent Herald Wednesday afternoon that the employee had not actually tested positive.
“Contact tracing concluded that an employee was in contact with someone that has tested positive over the weekend. So the employee was sent home to quarantine and get tested,” Tibbals said. “Courts were closed to clean again.”
Tibbals added that the Scott County Health Department had confirmed that the appropriate steps had been taken.
Statewide, the TN Dept. of Health reported 2,472 new cases on Wednesday, a new single-day record high for the state. Some of those cases all being reported on the same day could be due to the 4th of July holiday. There were fewer tests conducted over the holiday weekend, with people apparently waiting to be tested until the start of the new work week. There were 29,739 test results reported Wednesday — the most in a single day thus far. Of those tests, 8.3% were positive.
More alarming was increased numbers of deaths and hospitalizations reported in the last 24 hours. The Dept. of Health reported 20 deaths related to coronavirus on Wednesday, the most in a single day since Covid-19 cases began to accumulate in Tennessee. A surge in coronavirus deaths has been anticipated since Tennessee’s hospitalizations began to likewise surge more than two weeks ago. Prior to Wednesday, however, an increase had not been seen.
Meanwhile, there have been 73 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the most in a 24-hour period since late April. There are currently 782 people hospitalized with coronavirus across Tennessee, the most so far.
The picture continues to look more grim in East Tennessee, too. Knoxville reported two more coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday, bringing its total to 10. There are now 34 people hospitalized with coronavirus in Knoxville, easily the most thus far and an increase of 15 in just the past 24 hours.
For the first time, the Knox County Health Department on Wednesday upgraded the status of the East Tennessee region’s hospital capacities to “cautionary,” though it said that the capabilities remain “within current and forecasted surge capacity.”
There are currently 71 coronavirus patients hospitalized in the East Tennessee region — which includes Knoxville and surrounding counties — with 47 of them being in ICU and 30 being on ventilators. All of those are the highest levels thus far.
According to the Knox County Health Department, fewer than 8% of the ICU beds in East Tennessee are available — 21 out of 272. And close to half of the ventilators in the East Tennessee region are being used — 98 out of 242. That’s a big difference from the state as a whole, where 20% of ICU beds are available and more than 7 out of 10 ventilators are unused.
There are now more than 600 active cases of coronavirus in Knoxville alone. In Oak Ridge and Anderson County, there are 76 active cases. Campbell County is up to 25 active cases, while Fentress County is up to nine active cases and Morgan County is up to seven active cases.
Most cases of coronavirus are mild, and many cause no symptoms at all. Sometimes, however, the virus causes serious illness. That usually occurs in elderly people, especially those with underlying medical conditions. However, serious illness can occur at any age, including, rarely, people who are otherwise healthy. In Knoxville, there have been nearly two dozen hospitalizations involving patients between the ages of 18 and 44, and two of them died.