KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Health Department is going back to reporting COVID-19 numbers weekly instead of daily. Beginning next week, numbers will be released on Wednesday.
This news comes after Knox County reported a record-high number of new cases on Friday. Those with the health department say they’re making the change to coincide with the Tennessee Department of Health because the KCHD has to wait on the state’s weekly numbers to be able to update portions of its website.
“So we’re not seeing the deaths that may be occurring now or in the last several weeks,” Roberta Sturm with the department said. “It’s going to take some time until we actually record those. So, by reporting out weekly we’re going to have a better picture of what that looks like.”
Another reason for this decision is that lab testing and results are taking longer than usual.
Sturm said, “I know it may be a little difficult to find a test right now. You may be asked to wait a day or so to see a provider, or to go to an urgent care, or to schedule a test that may take some time, but I think the message is here is that if you’re not feeling well, stay home.”
Right now Knox County is seeing some of the highest rates of COVID-19 throughout the whole pandemic due to a more transmissible variant. “It was estimated that all of our new cases are in fact omicron,” Sturm adds.
Despite the new variant, health officials have recommended shorter quarantine times for those who test positive.
“The CDC recommended those changes because some data indicates that after five days of isolation that your less likely to transmit disease, especially if your a-systematic, but they still recommend wearing a mask during the ten days.”
If you’ve been vaccinated and have been around someone with COVID, the CDC recommends that you still mask but they say you don’t have to quarantine. They recommend testing 3-5 days after if you start having symptoms.