Washington County reported its 27th novel coronavirus-related death on Wednesday, bringing the region’s death toll to 135. Since Sept. 1, 46 people have died in the region.

Northeast Tennessee by the numbers

  • 89 new cases in the upper eight counties for a total of 7,853.
  • 135 total deaths. One new death in Washington County.
  • 81 new projected inactive cases for a total of 6,949.
  • 769 estimated active cases in Northeast Tennessee.
  • New cases by county: Carter 13, Greene 8, Hancock 0, Hawkins 11, Johnson 8, Sullivan 17, Unicoi 4, Washington 28.
  • Active cases by county: Carter 92, Greene 79, Hancock 6, Hawkins 33, Johnson 173, Sullivan 147, Unicoi 24, Washington 215.

Data analysis

Northeast Tennessee’s death toll increased by one on Wednesday, the seventh death reported since Monday. A third of all deaths have occurred this month.

The region reported 89 new cases for the second straight day, with the average number of new cases per day at 103.6 since Monday — nearly double last week’s average of 56.6. Washington (+28), Sullivan (+17), Carter (+13) and Hawkins (+11) all reported a double-digit increase in cases. Hancock County was the only county to not report an increase in cases.

The region’s active case count, up seven on Wednesday, rose to 769 after falling the previous day. Only Greene (-5) and Sullivan (-3) counties reported decreases in active cases, while Carter, Hancock and Johnson saw their case totals remain flat from Tuesday. Washington County (215) still has the most active cases, followed by Johnson (173) and Sullivan (147). No other county has more than 100 active cases, though Carter County is close with 92. Johnson County has the highest rate of active cases per 100,000 population with 973.

Inactive cases, which account for about 88% of the region’s total, increased by 81 to 6,949.

There were 1,411 new tests in the region, yielding a 6.80% positive test rate.

Johnson County increase tied to prison outbreak

Since Sept. 6, Johnson County has reported 175 new cases of COVID-19, and currently has the highest new case rate per 100,000 people over the last seven days at 96 due to an outbreak at the Northeast Correctional Complex. In recent days, the county has seen three major spikes in new cases on Sept. 6 (+71), Sept. 14 (+22) and Sept. 15 (+49). All have been tied to the prison, according to County Mayor Mike Taylor.

According to the data from the Tennessee Department of Correction, 81 prisoners at NECX have active virus infections, and at least 20 new cases among staff have been reported since Sept. 8. This data was last updated on Sept. 14, so it’s likely any increase in new cases since then has not yet been reported.

“I think as those numbers are processed through the labs and added to our count, I think as we get past the amount of time to get those back, I think you’ll see our numbers start to come back to what we were typically seeing in Johnson County,” Taylor said.

Hospitalizations

Ballad Health reported an eight-patient decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations, bringing the total down from 86 to 78. Hospitalizations are again down to their lowest level since July 25, when there were 76 hospitalizations.

Of those hospitalized, 12 were in intensive care and eight were on ventilators as both metrics continue their downward trend. Since Ballad began releasing its COVID-19 scorecard on Aug. 5, ICU patients have never been below 15 for three straight days, while the number of ventilator patients hadn’t been below 10 for consecutive days until this week. This data does not include weekend figures, which aren’t reported.

In the region, there were five new hospitalizations reported in Washington (+3), Hawkins (+1) and Sullivan (+1) counties.

School-age children

There were 11 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the 5-18 age group on Wednesday, with more than half (six) reported in Washington County. Other counties reporting cases were Sullivan (+3), Hawkins (+1) and Johnson (+1). Sullivan and Washington counties are the only counties with more than 150 reported cases, though Washington County has 71 more than Sullivan County.

ETSU

East Tennessee State University had 10 active cases — nine students and one employee — on Tuesday evening, a drop of two from Monday’s total.

Since the week of June 28, the university has reported 179 cases of COVID-19, with 169 inactive. Since classes returned the week of Aug. 23, the university has reported 62 cases of the virus, with most considered inactive.

There were 27 people in isolation in on-campus housing as of Tuesday evening, as well, which includes positive cases, those awaiting test results or people who’ve been exposed to an infected individual.

ETSU updates its COVID-19 dashboard weekday evenings, and these numbers reflect totals as of Tuesday evening.

Mountain Home VA

There were 31 active cases of COVID-19 attributed to the Veterans Affairs facility at Mountain Home on Wednesday morning, a decrease of three from Tuesday. In total, there have been 406 cases attributed to the facility, with 355 inactive cases. Twenty have died.

Cases attributed to Mountain Home reflect people tested or treated at the facility for known or probably COVID-19 infection. Mountain Home is not saying where the deaths or cases are concentrated, citing privacy concerns, but did say cases are reflected in data released by the state every day.

Novel coronavirus in Tennessee by the numbers

  • 1,856 new cases for a total of 177,087 since tracking began in March. 171,574 confirmed and 5,513 probable.
  • 24 new deaths reported for a total of 2,151.
  • 791 hospitalizations as of Tuesday, 40 fewer than Monday. Hospitalization data lags by one day.
  • 27,632 new tests for a total of 2.53 million.
  • 160,202 projected inactive cases.

The state saw its case count increase by 1,856, bringing the average number of new cases per day since Monday to 1,754.3 — the highest it’s been since Aug. 3-9.

As a result of the increase, active cases in the state rose by nearly 300, up to 14,734. That number is still far below the state’s peak of 17,027 active cases since the state changed the reporting threshold for an inactive case on Sept. 3.

There were 24 new deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the total since Monday up to 73.

Drive-up testing in Northeast Tennessee

Drive-up testing is available for free at the following sites, Monday-Friday:

Carter County: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. corner of East G Street and Holston Avenue, Elizabethton, 423-543-2521.

Greene County: 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 810 W. Church St., Greeneville, 423-798-1749.

Hancock County: 2-3 p.m., 178 Willow St., Sneedville, 423-733-2228.

Hawkins County-Church Hill: 10-11 a.m., 247 Silver Lake Road, Church Hill, 423-357-5341.

Hawkins County-Rogersville: 9-11 a.m., 201 Park Blvd., Rogersville, 423-272-7641.

Johnson County: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 715 W. Main St., Mountain City, 423-727-9731.

Sullivan County-Blountville: 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. on Tuesday by appointment only, 154 Blountville Bypass, Blountville, 423-279-2777.

Sullivan County-Kingsport: 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. on Thursdays by appointment only, 1041 E. Sullivan St., Kingsport. 423-279-2777

Unicoi County: 9-11 a.m., 101 Okolona Drive, Erwin, 423-743-9103.

Washington County: 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 219 Princeton Road, Johnson City, 423-975-2200.