For the second time in three days, a record number of coronavirus cases were reported in Scott County on Wednesday by the TN Dept. of Health.
The Dept. of Health reported 16 new cases in Scott County on Wednesday, the most new cases in a single day since the pandemic began. On Monday, 14 new cases were reported, which was a record at that time.
There have now been 42 new cases in Scott County in just three days. There were only 39 cases in the entire week prior to Monday.
It must be noted that 11 of the 28 new cases reported in the past 48 hours have been “probable cases,” meaning they have not been confirmed by testing. Probable cases are defined by the Dept. of Health when someone is exposed to coronavirus and develops multiple symptoms of the virus but is unable to be tested. Prior to the past two days, the most probable cases ever reported locally in a two-day period was six. Since the pandemic began, about 11% of Scott County’s 465 total cases have been “probable” rather than “confirmed.”
While new cases have surged, so have recoveries. The Dept. of Health reported nine recoveries on Wednesday, after reporting 15 on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Scott County’s number of active cases climbed to 88 on Wednesday, a new high.
The good news associated with the latest surge in cases is that there have been no hospitalizations related to coronavirus reported in Scott County since October 23. There have been a total of 22 people hospitalized locally since the pandemic began, or 4.7% of all diagnosed cases.
Testing positivity remains very high in Scott County, a warning sign that there is even more coronavirus circulating within the community than is being reported, even as the number of reported cases goes up. For Wednesday only, testing positivity was in excess of 21%, meaning that more than 1 out of every 5 tests being performed were returning positive. Over the past three days, testing positivity has been slightly lower, at 16%. Since the start of the pandemic, testing positivity in Scott County has been 7%.
Seven of the 42 new cases over the past three days have been in school-aged children, between the ages of five and 18. There have now been a total of 62 school-aged children in Scott County infected by coronavirus since the pandemic began — about 13% of the total number of cases. The seven new cases represents 17% of the new cases over the past three days.
So far, there have been few confirmed cases of child-to-child spread of coronavirus within a school setting in Scott County (related story to follow). However, each case of coronavirus in a school-aged child who has been in class with symptoms means additional students are required to quarantine. That has been an increasing concern for both local school districts, even as students at Scott High prepare to return to a full schedule for the first time in over a month.
Five of the seven cases among school-aged children over the past three days have been in elementary-aged children, ages 10 or under.
The biggest jump in new cases over the past three days has been among people in their 50s, with 10 new cases in that age category. There were eight new cases among people in their 30s, and eight among people in their teens. There were six new cases among people in their 20s, and only two new cases among people in their 40s, which has been the most common age group to contract coronavirus in Scott County since the pandemic began.
While coronavirus is surging in Scott County, there is a glimmer of hope. In most of the rest of the region, active cases are diminishing. That includes active cases in Fentress and Campbell counties, two counties hit hard by coronavirus outbreaks in recent weeks. That could be interpreted as a potential signal that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Scott County, as well.
Since October 28, active cases have declined from 224 to 150 in Campbell County, and from 85 to 78 in Fentress County. At one point there were more than 250 active cases in Campbell County, and almost 200 in Fentress County.
Active cases have also declined in Morgan County during the same time frame, from 44 to 33, and from 28 to 25 in Pickett County. Anderson County is the only exception, seeing its active cases increase from 233 to 270 since October 28.
Statewide, there were 25,737 active cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, after 3,445 new cases were reported Wednesday. Total deaths related to coronavirus in Tennessee have soared to 3,478, and current hospitalizations topped 1,500 for the first time on Wednesday. That means that about 6% of all active cases across the state are hospitalized.
In Knox County, there were 1,284 active cases of the virus as of Wednesday, 69 of which were hospitalized, or 5.4% of active cases.
Overall, hospitalization numbers in the 13-county East Tennessee region of Knoxville and surrounding counties, which includes Scott County, are declining. There were 216 Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the region’s 19 hospitals as of Tuesday, down from a high of 265 on October 28.
Of those patients, 68 were in ICU and 30 were on a ventilator. Those numbers have remained mostly stable in recent weeks.
Hospitals in the East Tennessee region were reporting one of every four hospital beds available as of Tuesday, while nearly one in five ICU beds were available, along with 60% of ventilators.