Latest Knox County Health Dept. data shows testing declined over the holiday, benchmarks remain red


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The number of new COVID-19 cases among Knox County residents went down for a fifth straight day as the county shifts from testing to vaccinating between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

The Knox County Health Department on Wednesday reported 129 new cases of the virus, the lowest number since 81 were reported on Nov. 25. On Tuesday, Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan said she believes the declining case numbers are because fewer people are getting tested during the holidays.

KCHD also reported three new deaths related to the virus.

The active case count in Knox County now stands at 4,901, a decline of 367 from Tuesday.

The Health Department also reported 177 county residents are hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase of 14 from Tuesday.

There are 3,102 probable cases in Knox County.

The number of inactive cases among Knox County residents now stands at 27,758.

During the Tuesday COVID-19 update from the Health Department, Charity Menefee, KCHD director of environmental and communicable disease, clarified a slight decline of inactive cases. Menefee said the department’s report of three fewer inactive cases was the result of “natural rollover of people rolling in and out of case counts.”

Of the 29,872 cases confirmed cases in Knox County since the pandemic began, 758 have resulted in hospitalizations.

KCHD has reported 315 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic hit Knox County in March. All but six of the fatalities have been reported since July 2.

Reported Knox County deaths by month

  • December: 146 deaths
  • November: 62 deaths
  • October: 21 deaths
  • September: 26 deaths
  • August: 19 deaths
  • July: 35 deaths

Knox County reported a record one-day increase of 724 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, Dec. 27.

KCHD updates its numbers daily at 11 a.m. Visit for more information.

Since Sept. 4, KCHD reports “inactive” cases instead of “recovered” cases. Inactive cases include those who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date. This is in alignment with the Tennessee Department of Health.

Benchmarks remain red

All five KCHD benchmarks remained red Wednesday.

Of note:

  • 5,290 fewer tests were given this week, Dec. 20-26, to Knox County residents than last week, Dec. 13-19.
  • The average wait time between specimen collection and lab report data at KCHD is still six-and-a-half days.
  • Among the 19 hospitals in the 16-county region surrounding Knox County, there are 107 non-intensive-care beds and 15 ICU beds available as of the last census by the hospitals. An ADDITIONAL 4,389 hospital beds and 543 ICU beds over and above the total capacity are potentially available, according to the data given by the area hospitals.
  • There are 34 known cases per 100,000 Knox County residents as of Wednesday. The 14-day trend shows 84 cases per 100,000. The seven-day trend is 60 per 100,000.
  • The percent positive of tests seven-day average in Knox County is 20.8%.

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