Pair of Knox County COVID-19 benchmarks go ‘green’ for first time in months

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — For the first time in months, two Knox County Health Department COVID-19 benchmarks are “green.”

The department updated its weekly measures Wednesday and two of the five benchmarks, sustained reduction or stability in new cases for 14 days and health care system capabilities remain within current and forecasted surge capacity, were green.

The other three, community-wide sustained and increased diagnostic testing with consistent or decreased test result reporting turnaround time; sustained or increased public health capability; and sustained or decreased COVID-19 related death rate for identified positive or probable cases, were categorized as yellow.

To more visually represent how the benchmarks are being attained, a traffic light is being utilized to depict the status of each benchmark.

 Red signifies the trends are not moving towards benchmark attainment and may indicate adjustments need to be made.

 Yellow signifies the trends are moving towards/away from reaching benchmark attainment. Yellow indicates caution.

 Green signifies that the benchmark is currently met.

New cases of the deadly virus continues to fall in Knox County. Over the last 14 days Knox County has seen an average of more than 84 new cases. The seven-day average is even smaller, 69.

The 19 area hospitals in Knox County and 15 surrounding counties are reporting hospital bed, intensive care unit bed, and ventilator capacities are improving as well.

As of Tuesday, all hospital bed available capacity sits at 22.7% according to the hospital systems’ data provided to the Health Department. More than 11% of ICU beds and more than 65% of ventilators in the region are available.

Testing among Knox County residents has declined dramatically since mid-December. KCHD says more than 18,000 county residents received a COVID-19 test from Dec. 13-19. This past week, Feb. 16-22, a few more than 5,500 tests were given.

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