Coronavirus in Tennessee: Cases rise by 750 as new hotspots develop in East Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee reported 750 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday — a 2.1% one-day increase — to bring the total to 36,303.

Deaths rose to 542 on Tuesday, an increase of 11 from Monday — also a 2.1% increase, the Tennessee Department of Health reported.

Some 24,068 people have recovered from the virus. There have been 2,336 people hospitalized and 705,164 have been tested.

State Health Director Dr. Lisa Piercey identified Hamblen County (134 cases) as one of the state’s developing hotspots. Attention has also been focused on Sevier County (464 cases), which has seen its cases skyrocket since the beginning of June.

Since June 1:

  • Knox County cases are up 79.4% to 716
  • Jefferson County cases are up 166.7% to 64
  • Hamblen County cases are up 219% to 134
  • Sevier County cases are up 433.3% to 464

“There’s a genuine understanding that COVID-19 is a serious public health crisis for our state,” Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday. “And we take it seriously every single day. There’s nothing happy about five people dying a day in our state. And we take that very seriously as well.

“We are encouraged that we have one of the lowest death rates per capita in the country. But every single death is a very serious issue for me.”

Piercey noted during the governor’s press briefing on Tuesday that there are ample beds available in Tennessee hospitals and that most people in the hospital are not there because of medical conditions related to COVID-19.

She also said health officials are seeing a new trend in the source of coronavirus cases.

Earlier in the pandemic people knew who infected them or where they got infected, she said.

“Now, exactly 50% of cases are from an unknown source. I’ll repeat that, again, half of all infections that people don’t know where they got infected,” Piercey said. “Now, that’s not surprising because as people are moving about in the community, they come in contact with people that are sick that they’re unaware of.

“But this unknown source tells us that we have more community spread. So that really emphasizes the point that when you are moving about — and we want you to move about and we want you to feel comfortable doing that — but we want you to do it safely.

“As I tell you every time wash your hands wear your face covering and avoid crowds when you have to or when you can, but when you have to keep your distance and make sure you’re doing it safely.”

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