The COVID-19 positivity rates in Anderson County and surrounding counties have been high recently, and one additional death and five more hospitalizations were reported in Anderson County in two days this week.
The positivity rate in Anderson County was close to 10 percent on Thursday and higher than 10 percent in five of the seven surrounding counties. It was highest in Union County, where the positivity rate was 18.4 percent.
The 14th death in Anderson County was reported by the Tennessee Department of Health on Thursday, and the five new hospitalizations were reported on Wednesday and Thursday.
The positivity rate measures the percentage of new daily tests that return positive results out of all the new daily tests. A higher positivity rate means more people are testing positive out of those who are tested each day.
World Health Organization guidelines call for a positivity rate that is below 5 percent for 14 days before activities re-open. The Tennessee Department of Health has a goal of 10 percent or less for the positivity rate.
On Thursday, the average positivity rate in Anderson County during the previous seven days was 9.8 percent.
It was more than 10 percent in five of the seven surrounding counties. The two exceptions were Loudon and Roane.
Here were the seven-day averages of positivity rates for Anderson County and its surrounding counties on Thursday:
- Union—18.4 percent
- Campbell—14.3 percent
- Knox—12.6 percent
- Scott—12.5 percent
- Morgan—11.7 percent
- Anderson—9.8 percent
- Loudon—8.6 percent
- Roane—7.7 percent
The state of Tennessee also reported a high positivity rate. It was 10.11 percent on Thursday.
The nation is trending in the wrong direction for the third time since March, in terms of controlling the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Daily cases in the United States passed 73,103 on Thursday, according to the COVID-19 Tracking Project, and there were about 41,000 patients currently hospitalized. The daily death toll was 1,038, the highest since late September. Deaths from COVID-19 rose more than 10 percent from last week as the case surge in the Midwest expands to new states, the COVID-19 Tracking Project said.
There is some concern about cases rising across the country even as the weather gets colder. During the winter, people are more likely to gather together indoors more often, and families traditionally meet for the holidays. Experts warn about the risk of transmission of the respiratory virus indoors, especially in small, poorly ventilated spaces.
A graph posted by the Tennessee Department of Health shows that Anderson County had a peak in cases in late July and a low in late August, and has generally trended up since then, although a small decline is visible in the past several days.
The positivity rate in the county has also trended up. There was a peak in late July, a low in late August, and a plateau in September, followed by the upward trend. The positivity rate is now back to roughly the same level as late July, the worst month of the pandemic so far.
Anderson County had 1,596 cases on Thursday, with 14 deaths and 47 total hospitalizations since the pandemic began here March 20. One hundred ninety-five cases were considered active.
Knox County appears to have had its third case peak since July, and the positivity rate is more than 10 percent for the second time since September. Knox County—where many Oak Ridge employees live and where many Oak Ridge residents go to shop and for entertainment—has reported 12,081 cases, with 88 deaths and 437 total hospitalizations.
Loudon County has had a positivity rate that has often exceeded 10 percent, but it appears to be trending down now. The number of new cases per day also appears to be trending down in Loudon County. Loudon County has reported 1,566 cases, with 10 deaths and 46 hospitalizations.
Roane County has had 1,224 total cases, with seven deaths and 38 total hospitalizations. The county’s positivity rate appears to have been below 10 percent in September and so far this month.
In Campbell County, October appears to have been the worst of the pandemic by far, with large increases in cases and the positivity rate. Campbell County has had 899 total cases, with eight deaths and 42 hospitalizations.
With the highest positivity rate, Union County has had 514 total cases, with three deaths and 15 hospitalizations. The positivity rate in Union County appears to have been generally high since late July.
Morgan County has had a relatively low number of total cases, 416, but the positivity rate is back over 10 percent for the third time since July. Morgan County has reported 416 total cases, with seven deaths and 12 total hospitalizations.
In Scott County, the number of new daily cases appears to have been steadily trending up since early September, and the positivity rate has been generally increasing since early September. Scott County has had 344 total cases, with four deaths and 19 hospitalizations.