Note: This story was updated at 3 p.m. Oct. 16
After peaking in July and falling in August, the average number of new COVID-19 cases per day appears to be trending back up in Anderson County.
In the past two weeks, the seven-day average of new cases in Anderson County was more than 15 per day, according to calculations by Oak Ridge Today. The county had 100 new cases between Friday and Wednesday.
Twice in the past three days, the number of new cases reported in one day has been 30 or more. The Tennessee Department of Health reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 in Anderson County on Monday. Thirty-five more new cases were reported on Wednesday.
That’s a level generally not seen since late July, the worst month of the pandemic so far. The highest number of cases reported in the county in one day was 39 on July 23 and again on July 27.
The average number of new cases per day fell in August after the July peak and then appeared to generally plateau for a month or so. But now the overall trend seems to be one of rising new case numbers, especially since an early September low.
The seven-day average was 15.9 new cases per day in the week ending Tuesday, according to calculations by Oak Ridge Today. That was up slightly from 15.3 the week before. The peak average in late July was about 20 new cases per day or more.
The drop in new daily cases in August appeared correlated with the start of mask requirements at large businesses such as Kroger and Walmart, but it’s not clear if the reduction was caused by those mask mandates. It’s also not clear why the number of new cases seems to be ticking back up or what could most effectively stop the rise.
In general, experts say that more widespread use of simple safety measures such as wearing masks, maintaining physical distances from people outside your home, and washing your hands regularly can help slow the transmission of the virus.
The percentage of positive tests, which compares new positives to the total number of new daily tests, also appears to be higher than it has been in Anderson County. The positivity rate has been close to 10 percent or higher for the past three days, which is high. The World Health Organization has recommended that the percent positive remain below 5 percent for at least two weeks before governments consider re-opening.
The positivity rate was 10.1 percent on Monday, 13.9 percent on Tuesday, and 9.5 percent on Wednesday.
Oak Ridge Today calculates the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases per day in Anderson County for the previous week on Tuesday each week. Here are the seven-day averages calculated by Oak Ridge Today since late June:
- Week ending June 30—3.43 new cases per day
- Week ending July 7—5.86
- Week ending July 14—10.86
- Week ending July 21—15.4
- Week ending July 28—24.7
- Week ending August 4—18.6
- Week ending August 11—9.7
- Week ending August 18—11.4
- Week ending August 25—9
- Week ending September 1—5.4
- Week ending September 8—11.1
- Week ending September 15—12.14
- Week ending September 22—13.7
- Week ending September 29—10.3
- Week ending October 6—15.3
- Week ending October 13—15.9
On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported a total of 1,463 cases in Anderson County, with 13 deaths and 41 hospitalizations.
The last death due to COVID-19 in Anderson County was reported by the state on September 25. Five of the 13 deaths reported in the county occurred in September.
The state reported 173 active COVID-19 cases in Anderson County on Wednesday and 1,277 inactive cases. Active cases are total cases minus inactive cases and deaths.
The transmission rate in Anderson County is back over one. It was 1.07 on Wednesday, according to Coronavirus-19 Outbreak Response Experts (CORE-19) at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. When the number is greater than one, the number of new infections will increase.
The transmission rate is 1 or higher in most East Tennessee counties.
There have been a total 30,400 COVID-19 tests in Anderson County since the pandemic began March 20.
Cases also appear to be trending up in Tennessee. Close to 3,000 new cases (2,965) were reported in the state on Monday, and the seven-day average in the week ending Tuesday was 1,922 new cases per day, according to calculations by Oak Ridge Today. That was a significant increase from the seven-day average of 1,537 from the previous week.
The national trend is troubling as well. The United States surpassed 64,000 new daily cases on Thursday for the first time since late July and reached eight million COVID-19 cases on Friday. In 44 states and the District of Columbia, caseloads are higher than they were one month ago, and many of the new infections are being reported in rural areas with limited hospital capacity, according to the Washington Post. Cable news network CNN said the country’s one-week average of new daily cases has passed 53,000, an increase of more than 55 percent in a little more than a month.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told governors on Tuesday that an increasing threat right now is the acquisition of COVID-19 infections through small household gatherings, and he emphasized the importance of continued mitigation steps.
COVID-19 daily snapshot
Here were the COVID-19 statistics for Anderson County on Wednesday, October 14:
- Total cases—1,463
- New cases—35
- Active cases—173
- Inactive cases—1,277
- Total hospitalizations (current hospitalizations could be different)—41
- Total tests—30,400
- New positives—32
- Daily positivity rate—9.5 percent
- Hospitalization rate—2.8 percent
- Death rate—0.9 percent
- Transmission rate—1.07
State, county statistics
Here were the COVID-19 statistics for Tennessee on Wednesday, as reported by the Tennessee Department of Health:
- Total cases—220,538
- New cases—1,709
- Active cases—19,245
- Death rate—1.3 percent
- Current hospitalizations—1,101
- Daily positivity rate—8.73 percent
- Average patient age—40
The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Tennessee on Wednesday, March 4. Since then, there have been more than 3.2 million COVID-19 tests in Tennessee.
The highest number of cases in the state is in Shelby County, which includes Memphis in West Tennessee. The case count there was 33,288 on Wednesday. There have been 545 deaths in Shelby County.
In Davidson County, 28,717 cases have been reported. In that county, 323 deaths have been reported. Davidson County includes Nashville in Middle Tennessee.
Cases in Knox County have grown significantly. Knox County reported 717 new cases of COVID-19 between Friday and Wednesday, according to the state health department. Beginning this month, Knox County (Knoxville) was number three in the state for COVID-19 cases after Shelby (Memphis) and Davidson (Nashville). Knox County is adjacent to Anderson County and home to many Oak Ridge employees. Knox County reported 151 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, more than either Shelby County (121) or Davidson County (88).
Knox County has had 11,257 cases of COVID-19 and 83 deaths.
Other counties with case counts of more than 2,000 on Wednesday included:
- Hamilton (Chattanooga area), with 10,730 and 100 deaths;
- Rutherford (Nashville area), with 10,570 cases and 104 deaths;
- Williamson (Nashville area), with 6,194 cases and 47 deaths;
- Sumner (Nashville area), with 5,360 cases and 105 deaths;
- Wilson (Nashville area), with 4,155 cases and 52 deaths;
- Putnam (Cookeville area), with 3,899 cases and 51 deaths;
- Montgomery (Clarksville area), with 3,623 cases and 50 deaths;
- Madison (Jackson area, between Nashville and Memphis), with 3,432 cases and 76 deaths;
- Bradley (Cleveland area, near Chattanooga), with 3,279 cases and 20 deaths;
- Sevier (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville), with 3,006 cases and 19 deaths;
- Blount (Maryville area), with 2,947 cases and 31 deaths;
- Maury (Columbia area, south-southwest of Nashville), with 2,858 cases and 34 deaths;
- Sullivan (Kingsport-Bristol area), with 2,830 cases and 40 deaths;
- Washington (Johnson City area), with 2,801 cases and 42 deaths;
- Robertson (east of Clarksville), with 2,401 cases and 39 deaths;
- Hamblen (Morristown area), with 2,254 cases and 41 deaths; and
- Tipton (Memphis area), with 2,113 cases and 22 deaths.
Here is COVID-19 case information about other counties besides Knox County that surround Anderson County:
- Loudon County has reported 1,483 cases and nine deaths.
- Roane County has reported 1,111 cases with six deaths.
- Campbell County has reported 747 cases and five deaths.
- Union County has reported 470 cases with two deaths.
- Morgan County has reported 380 cases with six deaths.
- Scott County has reported 294 cases with three deaths.
COVID-19 is a new, contagious illness that can have respiratory symptoms and affect other parts of the body, and it can be deadly. It can cause a range of health issues that can last weeks or months, including fevers, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and breathing problems, among other reported symptoms. The long-term effects remain unknown.
It can be spread by respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, talking, and singing. There is also debate about whether it might be spread by airborne transmission.
The disease appears to be especially deadly to older patients, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health. As of Wednesday, there had been at least 19 deaths among all age groups 21 years old and older, and 115 or more deaths starting with the 41-50 age group. The number of deaths continues to climb in older age groups. There have been between 285 and 965 deaths in the four oldest age groups: 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, and 81 and older.
The largest number of cases continues to be among patients who are 21 to 30 years old, followed by patients who are 31 to 40, and then patients who are 41 to 50.
While some people report no symptoms or mild symptoms, others become seriously ill from COVID-19, sometimes for weeks, and the effects can sometimes last for months. Others are admitted to the hospital, and some patients end up in intensive care and on ventilators.
To help prevent the virus from spreading, officials have repeatedly recommended that residents wear a face mask or covering when they are out of the house and around others, maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people when possible, and wash their hands frequently.
See the CORE-19 website here.
See previous story here.