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Northeast Tennessee’s seven-day COVID-19 test positivity rate continued its rise on Tuesday, nearing the 14% mark for the first time since late January.

As of Tuesday, the region’s seven-day positive test rate — the percentage of tests that are positive — was 13.93%, the highest rate reported since Jan. 22, when it was 14.52%. And while the number of tests reported in the past seven days is nearly identical to the number reported in the previous week, testing has declined in recent days.

Since Friday, the region has reported 2,806 total tests compared to 3,595 in the previous five days — a drop of 28.2% — though the number of positive tests has been nearly unchanged (432 to 430), leading to an increase in the region’s positivity rate. Tuesday’s daily positivity rate of 21.8% was also the highest reported since March 26 (22.63%), and is only the fourth time the daily positivity rate has topped 20% since January.

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Region adds three more virus-related fatalities

Three more Northeast Tennesseans were reported dead due to the virus on Tuesday, just the fifth time more than two deaths have been reported in a single day since March 1. The fatalities were reported in Hawkins (1) and Sullivan (2) counties.

Tuesday’s death toll brought the total number of deaths reported in Northeast Tennessee to 1,033, though new reported deaths have not topped 10 in a single week since the end of February. Last week there was a net total of five new reported deaths in the region, the fewest in a single week since last summer.

There were, however, nine new hospitalizations reported, the most since Feb. 17. Unlike deaths, weekly hospitalizations have been rising since mid-March, though they declined slightly last week.

Active cases top 1,300

Northeast Tennessee had just over 1,300 active infections as of Tuesday, the most reported since Feb. 11. The total is an increase of 21 from Monday, and follows a four-day period to start the month where active cases only increased by 19.

Sullivan (474) and Washington (396) counties have a large portion of the region’s active infections, though Carter (127), Greene (140) and Hawkins (107) each have more than 100. Hawkins County (-4) was the region’s only county to report a decline in active infections on Tuesday.

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