Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County reports 77 COVID-19 cases, drive-thru testing coming

Coronavirus

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Knox County went up to 77 on Wednesday, according to new information from the Knox County Health Department.

A breakdown of cases by age range. Source: Knox County Health Department

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Knox County reported a total of 77 on the health department website Wednesday, up from 63 reported on Tuesday.

The number of recovered cases grew to 28.

Twelve of the 77 cases have resulted in hospitalization at any point during the illness. This figure does not reflect the number of patients currently hospitalized in the county.

No new deaths have been reported after the first local death was reported on Monday.

The total number of tests conducted surpassed 1,000 Wednesday with testing up to 1,090.

Drive-thru testing in Knoxville

KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan announced during the department’s Wednesday briefing that Kroger and the city of Knoxville are working to offer a drive-thru testing site for the coronavirus this Friday and Saturday.

The test will be available to those who show symptoms who meet clinical qualifications. It will be a drive-thru event only and people will need to be approved through Kroger to be tested.

Details on signup and location will be available Wednesday evening.

Assisted-living residents, staff test positive

Buchanan also said an assisted-living facility in Knox County now has three residents and a staff member who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Three other staff members are awaiting their test results. The remaining residents and staff members have tested negative for COVID-19.

“We are following current CDC and (Tennessee Department of Health) guidance and continue to work with the facility who has been very cooperative with this situation,” she said.

Buchanan compared the unnamed facility’s case to those at Middle Tennessee facilities that had a similar cluster of positive tests.

“The difference is we received negative tests (at the Knox County facility),” she said. “That’s good news.”

The KCHD is also declining to give additional condition information on those who have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since there are so few cases hospitalized with COVID-19.

Social distancing, business concerns

Concerns over the last two weeks have grown over nonessential businesses staying open and essential businesses that are seeing influxes in customers. The essential businesses list was created by the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Buchanan said.

The health department is taking reports of nonessential businesses and giving them information on the importance of following the CDC and TDH guidelines. The KCHD is not closing nonessential businesses at this time.

“I think it is important for everybody to remember that all of the things we are doing to reduce social contact and follow social distancing guidelines help to keep numbers (of positive cases) lower,” Buchanan said.

“It’s important for us to give guidance to people not following the order and work to change their behavior. We know the vast majority of people are listening and doing the right thing.”

The Knox County Health Department began reporting new cases daily at 11 a.m. last week. The Knox County Health Department updates their numbers daily at 11 a.m. on covid.knoxcountytn.gov.

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