Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County Health Dept. reports 85 cases on Thursday, encouraged by recovered cases count

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The total number of cases in Knox County is now up to 85, according to new data released Thursday.

Cases breakdown by age range. Source: Knox County Health Dept.

Knox County Health Department reported 85 total COVID-19 cases in the county Thursday, up from 77 reported Wednesday.

Forty-two total cases have recovered, up from 28.

Thirteen of the 85 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.

The total number of tests conducted grew to 1,115. The total number of tests conducted surpassed 1,000 Wednesday.

Half of county cases have recovered

Charity Menefee, director of Communicable and Environmental Disease and Emergency Preparedness with KCHD, said she was encouraged to see that nearly half of the county’s reported cases of the coronavirus have recovered.

“I think that is a very good thing for us,” Menefee said. “The data supports … that 80% of individuals have mild to moderate infections and we are seeing that here. All of these measures we are doing are important to continue so that those who become very sick and need those hospital beds have the resources they need when they need them.”

Assisted-living facility update

The health department also gave an update on the unnamed assisted-living that had positive cases for COVID-19.

One of the three tests the health department was waiting to receive from yesterday has come back positive for the coronavirus and one of the three residents who tested positive has been “reclassified” as inconclusive. Menefee said they are awaiting the results of a follow-up test for that resident.

The facility now has two staff members and two residents who are confirmed positive as of Thursday afternoon.

“Everybody else, staff and residents, have tested negative,” Menefee said.

End in sight?

Many are asking when life may get back to normal as the coronavirus pandemic has effected life in Knox County and Knoxville since March 16.

That’s when city Mayor Indya Kincannon issued a state of emergency encouraging restaurants to change to a delivery and take-out only model. It also closed senior centers and allowed for budget flexibility to combat COVID-19.

When asked about where Knox County is in the “marathon,” Menefee said that we are still in the early stages of the race.

“We’re continuing to see cases rise, and I think everybody needs to know that we will be on the downhill getting to mile 13 and moving down when we start seeing our cases go down,” Menefee said. “We don’t have a crystal ball to say when that’ll be but we all feel very strongly that the measures we’re putting into place will help our situation.”

When asked how the health department is doing and how things are going overall. Menefee said the team is tired but upbeat.

“We’re working a lot,” she said. “We’re working seven days a week. I’m dealing with very difficult decisions that we’re making and talking to people through very difficult circumstances every day and that’s challenging, but we’re also very confident and comfortable in our response and that we know that what we’re doing and what we’re recommending is the right thing and that’s what is helpful to us during this time.

“We also have a really great family environment where we’re able to talk to each other and work through any issues or concerns we have.”

The Knox County Health Department updates its numbers daily at 11 a.m. on covid.knoxcountytn.gov.

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