Note: This story was updated at 7:30 p.m.
Anderson County reported 39 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, another record. And Roane County reported 33 new cases, also a record.
Oak Ridge is in Anderson and Roane counties. Most of the city’s residents live in Anderson County, but the west side of the city and some large federal sites are in Roane County.
Anderson County now has 374 COVID-19 cases, with 171 active cases, and Roane County has 189, with 111 active.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Anderson County has more than tripled since early July, and the number of active cases has more than quintupled. The number of hospitalizations has more than doubled this month.
The last record of new daily COVID-19 cases in Anderson County was Tuesday, when 27 new cases were reported. Before that, the previous high was 23 new cases on July 8.
The last record of new daily COVID-19 cases in Roane County was also Tuesday, when 22 cases were reported. The previous high for Roane County was 10 new cases on June 12.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Roane County has doubled in nine days, from 94 on July 14. The number of active cases has more than quadrupled in about two weeks. It was up to 111 on Thursday, compared to 24 on July 7.
Here are Thursday’s COVID-19 statistics for Anderson County, according to the Tennessee Department of Health:
- Total cases—374
- New cases—39
- Active cases (total cases minus recoveries and deaths)—171
- Daily positivity rate (39 new cases out of 444 new tests)—8.9 percent
That is a high number of tests for Anderson County. The county averaged 194 new tests per day in the week ending July 21. But the positivity rate remained high at 8.9 percent on Thursday despite the increase in the number of tests, meaning more people tested positive of those who were tested.
Here are Thursday’s COVID-19 statistics for Roane County, according to the Tennessee Department of Health:
- Total cases—189
- New cases—33
- Active cases (total cases minus recoveries and deaths)—111
- Daily positivity rate (33 new cases out of 268 new tests)—12.3 percent
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Roane County Executive Ron Woody have both declined to mandate masks or face coverings in their counties. Wearing a mask is one of the steps that health experts say can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, along with maintaining a distance of six feet or more from people outside your home and washing your hands frequently. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has given county mayors in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties, including Anderson and Roane, the authority to require or recommend masks.
Many businesses have started requiring face coverings, and Oak Ridge officials have sought to be allowed to have their own mask mandate in the city, if that is something the City Council agrees to.
The increases in COVID-19 cases come even as Oak Ridge Schools prepare to open next week. In a special meeting Thursday, the Oak Ridge Board of Education unanimously approved a staggered class schedule for middle school and high school students, although elementary school students will be expected to attend five days per week, if families don’t choose an online learning option.
See our previous story here.