Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County reports 10th death in August, 46th total

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The Knox County Health Department reported the 10th death in the county since the beginning of August.

The Knox County Health Department reported one new death and 85 new cases, a 1.81% increase in the total case count from Sunday. There have been 4,784 virus cases in Knox County.

Health officials also reported 30 new recoveries on Monday. There are 2,290 active COVID-19 cases in Knox County.

There have been 46 coronavirus-related deaths in the county, most of them of since July 1. Knox County has reported 10 deaths in the first 10 days of August and 19 deaths since July 29.

Of the 4,784 total confirmed cases reported in Knox County since the pandemic began, 222 of them have resulted in hospitalization at any point during the illness. There are 27 Knox County patients currently hospitalized.

The number of recoveries is now at 2,611. Recovered cases refer to those who have been released from isolation after 10 days from their onset of symptoms, plus 24 hours of being symptom-free. Recovered does not mean necessarily the person had to be hospitalized.

Knox County Health Department lists 163 probable cases of COVID-19 on the county website.

The Knox County Health Department updates its numbers daily at 11 a.m. Visit covid.knoxcountytn.gov for more information. Press briefings by Knox County Health Department are normally held at 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

KCHD Monday briefing takeaways

Tips/suggestions for watching and participating in sports

Knox County Health Director Dr. Martha Buchanan laid out some tips for both parents and students who plan on attending/participating in sports events.

  • Don’t huddle together, make sure you’re social distancing when spectating
  • Wear a mask
  • If you don’t feel well, you should stay home

KCHD COVID-19 Testing to be held Wednesday and Thursday

Buchanan also gave out a reminder that there is no COVID-19 testing Monday with KCHD, however, they will be testing Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park.

“Tuesdays and Thursdays continue to be reserved for targeted testing events. Testing is free, but insured individuals must bring their insurance card. We recommend that children be seen by their primary care physician (PCP), but we will attempt to test all age children. If they are not cooperative, we will refer them to their PCP. For more information, please call KCHD’s Public Information Line at 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022. The information line is available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday.”

Knox County Health Department

Data Corrections:

  • Last week it was reported that one of the deceased males was 29-years-old, when in fact that person was 55-years-old. The data has been corrected and reflected in Monday’s report.
  • There was a reporting error on Friday which showed a low number of currently hospitalized individuals in Knox County.
    • The numbers reported Monday is what KCHD received from hospitals and still shows a low number compared to numbers recently seen, which is, “encouraging,” according to Buchanan.

New Chart: ‘Number of Cases by Specimen Collection Date’

KCHD will now be utilizing a Specimen Collection Date chart, and Buchanan listed the following reasons why this chart will now be used:

  • This will mirror the tendency of what the Department of Health is doing
  • Specimen Collection Dates are available for all confirmed cases
  • The previous Epic Curve chart was based on reported symptoms on a set date or specimen collection date, if the person was asymptomatic (Buchanan said there is some variability there)
  • By using Specimen Collection Date, KCHD will have cleaner, more reliable/consistent data showing than what was being shown previously

“Now, you’ll just notice a dip on the weekend since testing considerably drops off on the weekends.”

Dr. Buchanan
KCHD

Community spread vs Clusters

Buchanan: ‘It’s important to note that the majority of cases in Knox County are from community spread and not clusters’

Dr. Buchanan also discussed clusters. Clusters are defined as two or more people who have a common exposure outside of their household.

“It’s important to note that the majority of cases in Knox County are from community spread and not clusters. Additionally, we are seeing clusters all throughout our community and not just pinpointed in one industry or type of setting.”

Dr. Buchanan
KCHD

The above graph was referenced during the briefing which illustrates the number of clusters reported daily by setting in Knox County.

The most frequently reported cluster setting in Knox County is “Community” with 35 clusters total.

The graph also shows that over the last 14 days, Knox County has added three new clusters in assisted care living facilities, nursing homes, and residential homes for the aged.

  • Examples of “Community” clusters include clusters in educational or religious/spiritual settings.
  • Examples of “Other Facility” settings include daycares and mental health facilities.
  • Examples of “Other Healthcare” clusters include home health and outpatient clinics.

“Back in the early stages of the pandemic, we didn’t see very many clusters. Since mid-June those numbers have increased. The big takeaways here is that clusters are occurring in a variety of places and they do not make up the majority of cases. Community spread does. Your risk of getting COVID-19 is present all across the community. The best defense against the virus are the five core actions.”

Dr. Buchanan

Tips for parents to help children practice the five core actions

  • Get them used to wearing a mask
  • Talking to them about hand-washing and being careful
  • Bring it down their level and make sure they understand

How college students are counted

In an email after the meeting, Department of Health explained how cases involving college students are counted:

“While students live in Knox County and attend a university, they are considered a Knox County resident for case reporting purposes,” the email said. “Therefore, they are counted in Knox County’s case counts should they become a case. If they live in a neighboring county, but commute to a university, they are counted in the neighboring county’s case counts should they become a case. It is based on where they are physically living at the time of diagnosis.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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