In terms of data, it was another bad day for coronavirus in Scott County on Thursday, as the TN Dept. of Health reported 41 new cases of the virus.
It was the second-most cases reported in a single day locally, and the number of active cases reached a new high — 279 — despite 24 new recoveries being reported.
Only 14 of the 41 cases reported Thursday were confirmed cases. The remaining 27 — or 66% of the total — were probable cases.
The number of probable cases in Scott County has been steadily increasing, and now represent 1 in 4 of all cases reported in this county since the pandemic began.
Prior to November, only 10% of Scott County’s cases were probable cases. However, that percentage has more than doubled in less than three weeks. Since November 1, nearly 4 in 10 new coronavirus cases reported in Scott County — 163 of 421 — are probable.
No specific reason for the surge in new cases has been given. However, antigen tests — or rapid tests — are counted as probable cases when they return positive, and there has been an increase in the use of those tests. In some instances, people who are exposed to known Covid-19 cases and exhibit certain symptoms are counted as probable cases, as well.
In spite of this, the trend seen with probable cases in Scott County has not been manifested on a statewide level. To date, only 7% of Tennessee’s Covid-19 cases — 24,000 out of 328,000 — have been probable cases, while the remainder have been confirmed. That percentage has increased significantly in November — 14% of all new cases in this state in November have been probable cases — but is still significantly less than the percentage of probable cases locally.
As for traditional testing, 67 new test results were reported on Thursday, with 22% being positive. A high testing positivity rate is an indicator that high numbers of coronavirus cases aren’t merely a symptom of increased testing. A commonly-used benchmark, defined by the CDC, is 10%, with testing positivity in excess of that being an indicator that there is not enough testing being performed to capture all of the spread of coronavirus within a community.
Three of the 41 new cases reported Thursday, or 7%, involved school-aged children between the ages of five and 18. That is only about half of the share of coronavirus cases that have fallen into that age range since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, a total of 21 cases in Scott County are pending age classification. Most of those appear to be holdovers from Monday, when 43 new cases were reported. That day, the number of cases pending age classification jumped from two to 19.
The Dept. of Health has still only reported two coronavirus-related hospitalizations in Scott County in November, even as the total number of coronavirus cases for the month has climbed above 400. In other words, fewer than half a percent of this month’s coronavirus cases have required hospitalization.
That percentage is likely to increase, since hospitalizations trail diagnoses by several days, on average. But it is looking increasingly probable that Scott County’s hospitalization rate will dip during the current surge of new cases. Both locally and statewide since the pandemic began, between 4% and 5% of all Covid-19 cases have required hospitalization.
There have been a total of 24 hospitalizations related to covid in Scott County, and six deaths.
Roughly half of Scott County’s total cases of coronavirus — 421 of 843 — have now been reported in the month of November alone.
As coronavirus cases increase, the office of 8th Judicial District Attorney General Jared Effler announced Thursday that all criminal court jury proceedings have been suspended through January 2021.
As the Independent Herald previously reported, there have been more new coronavirus cases per populous reported in Scott County during the month of November than in any other Tennessee county, with the exception of Lake County. After decreased numbers of new cases reported by the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, there was some hope that the acceleration of Scott County’s coronavirus outbreak could be slowing.