Coronavirus in Knox County: cases trend up as vaccination rates level off

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County is reflecting a statewide trend of an increase in COVID-19 cases. Average new case rates and positivity rates have been on the rise from lows seen in mid-June.

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 351 total positive cases and 111 total ICU cases statewide as of July 14. On the Fourth of July, the department reported 195 total positive cases and 72 total ICU cases in the state.

Dr. Eric Penniman with Summit Medical Group talked with WATE 6 On Your Side about COVID-19 case numbers going up in Knoxville. “We’re seeing our COVID numbers go up somewhat and we’re seeing more cases of the delta variant,” said Penniman.

He also said there’s been an increase in testing statewide. “The percent of people that we test with the PCR test in the nose, we had been at an all-time low right around 1-2% and now we’re back up to around 5% across the state,” he said.

The Knox County 7-day positivity rate as of July 12 was 5.18%, more than four times the 7-day positivity rate reported a month earlier on June 12 (1.2%). July 12 also saw a daily positive rate of 8.47%, the highest daily average since May 2 (9.62%).

Over the last 14 days (6/30- 6/13) Knox County has averaged 19 new cases reported per day, up from an average of 9.4 from the 14 days prior. Despite the uptick, the 1672 tests were conducted in the county from July 7-14, the fewest in a seven-day period since May 3-9 when 1634 were conducted.

Since May 27, when Knox County surpassed 46% of all county residents who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the percentage has risen just 2.73% to 48.85 as of July 13.

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