Northeast Tennessee reported 241 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday — the sixth-highest single-day increase, which comes as two more people were reported to have died from the virus in Washington County. Since Oct. 1, the region has recorded five of its six highest single-day case counts.

With 241 new cases reported, the region’s active case count grew by a considerable margin, jumping by 52 and continuing to reach record highs. As of Thursday, there were 1,883 active cases in the region, with 63.5% concentrated in Sullivan (701) and Washington (496) counties.

Of the 52 new active cases, 42 came from Sullivan (+22) and Washington (+20) counties, with only one county (Johnson, -9) reporting a decrease in active cases.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the region has reported 10 days with more than 200 new cases. Half have occurred in the past 15 days.

With 21 new cases reported among the region’s 5-18 year olds on Thursday, it pushed the region’s total of infected school-age children since Monday to 108. New cases were reported in Carter (+3), Greene (+4), Hawkins (+1), Johnson (+1), Sullivan (+5) and Washington (+7) counties.

According to the Johnson City Schools COVID-19 dashboard, 136 students — 26 at Science Hill, 22 at Indian Trail and 20 at Woodland — are in quarantine due to being identified as a close contact of an infected individual. In addition to those students, 16 have tested positive — most at Science Hill (6) and Indian Trail (5). There are 97 students awaiting test results.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, Ballad announced the system would be deferring 25% of elective procedures at Holston Valley Medical Center in anticipation of a continued surge in hospitalizations — which could breach the 150-mark in the coming days. Similar plans are expected to be implemented at Bristol Regional Medical Center and Johnson City Medical Center, as well.

The healthcare system is projecting about 200 new hospitalizations before the end of the month.

Tennessee continues to set records for early voting with more than a million of the state’s residents already marking their ballots for the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The early voting period, which began on Oct. 14, ends Thursday the 29th. Tennesseans also have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to request an absentee mail-in ballot from their local Election Commission office.

State officials say 1,085,384 Tennesseans have cast their ballots during the first six days of early voting. That represents a 47% increase of in-person and absentee mail voters compared to the same period in 2016.

As of Wednesday, Washington county had already recorded 5,641 more votes for the Nov. 3 election than it did for the entire early voting period of the 2016 presidential election, and numbers are similar at other polling places throughout NETennessee.

Lastly, Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigators were looking for a man captured on home security video burglarizing a home on South Austin Springs Road early Friday morning.

The man may have been traveling with a woman. He was wearing a gray toboggan, camouflaged jacket with brown or dark red sweat pants and black tennis shoes.

Anyone with information about this matter was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 423- 788-1414.