KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The current active COVID-19 case count in Knox County reached a new high on Tuesday, while total COVID-19 inpatients in Knoxville area hospitals edged down from its own record high set last week.

With 642 new active cases reported Tuesday, Sept. 7, Knox County has reached an all-time high of 5,562 active cases. The previous record of 5,429 was set on Dec. 23, 2020.

The Knox County Health Department added 933 new cases on Tuesday, more than the three previous days combined. A KCHD spokesperson said the large number of cases being reported on Tuesday were due to the state working through a backlog of tests over the holiday weekend.

Health officials also reported 13 more deaths on Tuesday. There have now been 720 deaths as a result of COVID-19 among Knox County residents. A total of 60 deaths were reported in the month of August, two fewer than the deadliest month of the year, February, which had 62.

As of Sept. 6, There are 590 hospital inpatients listed in the 19 hospitals in the Knox County/East Region including 145 ICU patients and 111 patients on ventilators. Regional COVID-19 hospitalizations had reached an all-time high on Sept. 2 when 703 positive inpatients were reported, surpassing the previous high set on Jan. 7.

Knox County Health Department will begin daily COVID-19 updates Monday through Friday beginning Sept. 8., ending biweekly updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

KCHD says, “This means that some of the positive cases that are reported out today (Tuesday) are actually from positive labs in the past several days. That said, this is reflective of high community transmission of COVID-19 in Knox County and across the state.” 

According to Sept. 7’s data, the seven-day trend for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (population) is 83, with the 14-day trend at 75. As of Sept. 2, the daily COVID-19 percent of positive tests was listed at 22.17% with the seven-day average at 22.7%.

In terms of availability, the 19 hospitals in the Knox County/East Region report 18.10% of all hospital beds are available, 6.3% of ICU beds are available, along with 38.8% of ventilators available.

The Knox County Health Department urged the community to help prevent the continued spread of COVID-19 and to protect each other.

“First and foremost, if you have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine and are eligible, please get vaccinated. The vaccine is effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19 and is still the best tool we have at ending this pandemic.” 

“Additionally, practice a layered mitigation strategy while in public. This includes wearing a mask, physical distancing, regularly washing your hands and staying home if you are sick or have been asked to isolate or quarantine. By following these basic infection control guidelines, we can reduce the spread of disease in Knox County and prevent more people from getting sick, going to the hospital and dying.”