Northeast Tennessee saw a record number of new cases on Friday as several counties set records for new cases in a single day.

The region also reported three new deaths.

Northeast Tennessee by the numbers

  • 231 new cases Friday in the upper eight counties for a total of 3,013.
  • 25 total deaths in the upper eight counties. Three new deaths were reported, one each in Carter, Hawkins and Sullivan counties. Hancock County had its death toll reduced by one.
  • 56 new recoveries for a total of 1,143.
  • 1,845 active cases in Northeast Tennessee.
  • New cases by county: Carter 36, Greene 20, Hancock 2, Hawkins 24, Johnson 24, Sullivan 45, Unicoi 7 and Washington 73.
  • Active cases by county: Carter 294, Greene 206, Hancock 56, Hawkins 203, Johnson 77, Sullivan 253, Unicoi 68 and Washington 688.
  • Average number of new cases per 100,000 over the last two weeks: Carter 30.78, Greene 15.62, Hancock 49.84, Hawkins 21.00, Johnson 26.11, Sullivan 17.91, Unicoi 24.79 and Washington 32.30.
  • Monthly increase in active cases: Carter 1,447%, Greene 662%, Hancock (incalculable because Hancock had 0 active cases on July 1), Hawkins 1,930%, Johnson 541%, Sullivan 1,846%, Unicoi 3,300% and Washington 2,272%.

Data analysis

July was a record month in every way for COVID-19 in both the state and the region, with Northeast Tennessee seeing its active case count jump 1,547% in the past 31 days.

Washington County has the most active cases with 688, followed by Carter County’s 294. Combined, Washington and Carter counties account for 53.2% of the region’s active cases, while Sullivan has an additional 11% of active cases.

Friday’s increase of 231 cases pushed the region’s total past 3,000 for the first time, while active cases increased for the 31st consecutive day.

This week will almost certainly set a weekly record for new cases in the region, as there have already been 714 new cases reported. Last week there were 810 new cases reported, and 557 total at this time last week.

Over the last five days, the region has averaged 142.8 new cases per day, on pace for nearly 1,000 new infections this week.

This week has also been the deadliest week of the pandemic in the region, with 10 fatalities since Monday. Overall, 25 Northeast Tennesseans have lost their lives during the pandemic.

HospitalizationS

The number of inpatients and patients under investigation at Ballad Health facilities remained steady on Friday, the fourth straight day without an increase.

As of July 31, Ballad was treating 88 COVID-19 patients, and had 11 more under investigation. The healthcare system reported a decrease in the number of patients in intensive care and on ventilators, with 18 patients in the ICU and 12 on ventilators. On Thursday, there were 21 ICU patients and 14 people on ventilators.

There were six new hospitalizations reported Friday, with three in Sullivan County. Since Monday, there have been 35 new hospitalizations and 146 since July 1. Last week saw the most hospitalizations with 53, and this week will come close to that total. Currently, the region is averaging about seven hospitalizations per day.

Schools

Every county is still above the 14-day average of 11 cases per 100,000 people (a common threshold to trigger some school districts to consider a move to remote learning).

Thus far, school districts in Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties have either pushed back their reopening date or have already made the decision to begin the school year virtually.

There were 26 new reported cases among school-aged children in Northeast Tennessee on Friday, with the majority reported in Washington and Carter counties. Overall, 290 children aged 5-18 have tested positive for the virus in the region.

Mountain Home VA

The Veterans Affairs medical facility at Mountain Home reported an additional fatality on Friday, pushing the total number of deaths attributed to it to six. Nearly all of deaths have occurred in the last 10 days.

As of 2 p.m. Friday, there were 172 cases attributed to the Mountain Home VA, with 97 recoveries. Of the 69 active cases, 58 are veterans and 11 are employees.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ COVID-19 data dashboard, the number of cases includes “all patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19.” The same goes for fatalities, which do not have to occur at a VA hospital to count as a VA death.

Novel coronavirus in Tennessee by the numbers

  • 3,088 new cases for a total of 105,959 since tracking began in March. 104,778 confirmed and 1,181 probable.
  • 27 new deaths reported for a total of 1,060.
  • 89 new hospitalizations for a total of 4,661 over the course of the pandemic. As of July 31, there were 1,127 people hospitalized with COVID-19, along with 367 more listed as pending.
  • 32,555 new tests for a total of 1.51 million.
  • 2,123 new recoveries for a total of 66,357.

Analysis

Nearly 60% of Tennessee’s cases were reported in July, far-and-away the most ever reported in a month in the state since the pandemic began. Additionally, active cases in the state more than doubled in July, increasing by 134%.

As of July 31, there were 38,542 active cases in the state, just over a third of the state’s cases are considered active.

Friday’s count was also the third-highest single-day total ever recorded, and the state is on pace to break its single-week record set two weeks ago. There have been 12,003 new cases reported since Monday, 4,152 fewer than the record total.

Hospitalizations remained high but continued to fall on Friday, though July also saw the most hospitalizations of any month in the state. July was also Tennessee’s deadliest month of the pandemic.

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