KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dr. Keith Gray, chief medical officer at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, praised the work being done by hospital systems, government leaders and the Knox County Health Department on Tuesday during the department’s media briefing.
Gray, the acting spokesperson for the Knoxville area’s hospital systems, praised the collaboration between medical and governmental leadership and said the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic will pay dividends should similar issues arise in the future.
“The leadership that has been shown in this community has dampened the impact relative to other communities in our nation,” he said, putting emphasis on KCHD’s work. “Without them, without their leadership we would not have successfully navigated this pandemic to the point where we are right now.”
Gray’s vote of confidence came hours after the Knox County Commission passed a resolution critical of the Knox County Board of Health which is made up of medical professionals and KCHD Director Dr. Martha Buchanan.
Charity Menefee, director of communicable and environmental disease and emergency preparedness at the Knox County Health Department, said the department needs to do a better job of bringing what they do to protect the community to the forefront.
“Having a better understanding from the get-go of what public health does is something that we can continue to work on and try to do a better job of making sure our community is aware of the work that we’ve done in the background,” she said.
Gray went on to say that new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations reached a peak around late July and early August when students were returning to school and people were traveling for the Labor Day holiday.
Speaking about UT Medical Center cases, Gray said hospitalizations of cases have ranged in age from 36 to 96 with an average age of 62.
What has changed is the symptoms and severity among positive cases. As more has been learned about the virus, the need for stays in intensive-care has fallen statewide.
During Gray’s last briefing on Aug. 5, 40% of positive cases that were hospitalized required a stay in the ICU. Now it is around 25%.
Current systems being seen in most positive COVID-19 cases include respiratory issues, fever, gastrointestinal issues, and loss of taste and/or smell.
- Coronavirus Timeline: Total COVID-19 cases near 175K, deaths now stand at 2,097 in the state
- CHART: Tennessee Department of Health’s count of coronavirus cases by day in state
- Greene County mayor extends mask mandate through September 30
- Video and pictures of packed house party near KU campus spark concern as virus cases rise
- Tennessee Coronavirus: Two weeks into September, state has seen a 12.48% increase in COVID-19 cases and a 19.56% increase in deaths
- Coronavirus in Tennessee: Knox County reports smallest 1-day increase in new cases so far in September
- Oxford and AstraZeneca resume coronavirus vaccine trial
- Tennessee Coronavirus: Total COVID-19 cases reach 171,824 with 933 new cases reported Sunday
- Coronavirus in Tennessee: Inactive cases rise by 204 as Knox County reports 121 new cases & no new deaths
- As Trump played down virus, health experts’ alarm grew
- Dakotas lead US in virus growth as both reject mask rules
- Tennessee Coronavirus: COVID-19 deaths hit 2,064 with 39 new ones reported Saturday
- Coronavirus in Tennessee: Inactive cases rise by 229 as Knox County reports 189 new cases & 3 new deaths
- As restaurants, bars re-open amid coronavirus, CDC study urges caution
- Ohio college students test positive for coronavirus, throw party