Scott County hit 100 active cases of coronavirus on Thursday, as a surge of new cases continued at an alarming rate.
For the third time in four days, Scott County set a record for most new cases in a single 24-hour period on Thursday. The TN Dept. of Health reported 18 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases locally to 483. There were 16 new cases reported on Wednesday, and 14 new cases on Monday.
There have now been 50 new cases reported in just the past four days. Scott County’s active cases during that time frame have ballooned from 74 to 100.
A new hospitalization was also reported on Thursday, the first in nearly two weeks and the 23rd hospitalization in Scott County overall.
In continuing with a recent trend, a significant chunk of the new cases reported Thursday were probable cases that were not confirmed with testing. Nine of the 18 cases were probable cases. The remaining nine were confirmed by positive test results. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 90% of Scott County’s Covid-19 cases have been confirmed cases. In the past four days, however, that number has slipped to 60%, with 20 of the 50 new cases being listed as probable.
Rising cases in schools: Five of the 18 new cases reported on Thursday were among school-aged children, ages five to 18, according to the Dept. of Health. That’s the most cases in a single day among that age group since the pandemic began. There have now been 12 cases among school-aged children in the past four days, or nearly one in four of the total new cases during that time frame. That’s close to double the rate of cases in school-aged children as a percentage of the overall total since the beginning of the pandemic.
More school changes: Scott County Director of Schools told the Independent Herald earlier this week that Scott High School was probably ready to return to a regular schedule for the first time since fall break. However, Hall added that his administrative team would review the situation on Thursday — as they do each week. And, after review, the school system announced Thursday afternoon that Scott High will remain on a phase-in schedule through Thanksgiving break. That means student capacity will be 50% each day, based on grade level. Students at SHS will report to class two days each of the next two weeks, and one day the week of Thanksgiving. Burchfield Elementary School is also on a phase-in schedule this week and next, with students reporting to class one day each week, according to grade level.
Testing positivity: As the Independent Herald has noted in past reports, there have been numerous red flags that the current surge — not unlike surges in neighboring Fentress and Campbell counties that now seem to be subsiding — was looming. The biggest red flag was high testing positivity, an indication that there was more coronavirus spread within the community than was being detected. For Thursday only, testing positivity was a whopping 32% — the most in a single day since the pandemic began. The CDC says anything above 10% is problematic.
Around the region: Since Monday, active cases are up significantly in Scott County, in contrast to the rest of the region. With an increase from 84 active cases to 100 across the past 72 hours, Scott County’s active cases have grown by 19% during that time frame. By comparison, Anderson County’s active cases have grown by just two to 283; Campbell County’s active cases have shrunk 22% to 142; Fentress County’s active cases have shrunk by six to 74; Morgan County’s active cases have shrunk by three to 34; and Pickett County’s active cases have grown by one to 19.
Across the state: Fortunately, the news isn’t as dire for Tennessee as a whole as it seems to be locally. In fact, Tennessee dropped below 25,000 active cases on Thursday for the first time since October 24. There were 1,969 new cases reported on Thursday, 1,502 of which were hospitalized, and there are now 24,770 active cases in the state. In Knox County, active cases stood at 1,447 on Thursday, 69 of which were hospitalized.