KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After a majority of East Tennessee counties were rated by the Centers for Disease Control to have a high COVID-19 Community Level, most of the region is now back to a ‘medium’ rating.

The CDC divides every county in the U.S. into three categories of COVID-19 risk, high, medium and low, by evaluating hospital beds used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

As of Sept. 8, six East Tennessee counties were in the ‘high’ category. Three counties, Cumberland, Grainger and Johnson, were rated ‘low.’ The remaining 17 counties were rated in the ‘medium’ category.

High-quality masks or respirators are recommended by the CDC in areas with a high COVID-19 community level. High-risk individuals are advised to consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public.

In medium COVID-19 community level areas, those who are immunocompromised or at a high risk for severe illness are advised to wear a mask or respirator when indoors in public. The CDC also advises those who come into contact with someone at a high risk for getting sick, either in their household or through social contact, to consider self-testing before contact and consider wearing a high-quality mask when indoors with them.

East Tennessee counties with a ‘high’ COVID-19 Community Level

  • Carter
  • Claiborne
  • Hawkins
  • Sullivan
  • Unicoi
  • Washington

East Tennessee counties with a ‘medium’ COVID-19 Community Level

  • Anderson
  • Blount
  • Campbell
  • Cocke
  • Fentress
  • Greene
  • Hamblen
  • Hancock
  • Jefferson
  • Knox
  • Loudon
  • Monroe
  • Morgan
  • Roane
  • Scott
  • Sevier
  • Union

Great Smoky Mountains National Park recently reinstated a requirement of face masks inside all park buildings regardless of vaccination status based on high COVID-19 levels in Tennessee counties within the park.