Note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.
Anderson and Roane counties reported record-high one-day increases in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the pandemic appears to have returned to or surpassed July levels. Anderson County set another record on Thursday.
Roane County reported 41 new cases on Wednesday, and Anderson County reported 40.
Update: Anderson County reported another record increase on Thursday, 46 new cases. It’s the second day of a record increase in COVID-19 cases in Anderson County.
The previous high in Anderson County was 39 on July 23. Until now, July had been the worst month of the pandemic.
The previous high in Roane County had been 34 on October 23. It followed an earlier peak of 33 on July 23.
Oak Ridge is in both Anderson and Roane counties. Most of the city’s residents live in Anderson County, but the west end of the city is in Roane County.
The number of new cases per day has been increasing overall in both counties. On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported that Anderson County averaged 21.7 new cases per day during a 14-day period. (Oak Ridge Today last observed a new daily case average over 20 in July.) The new daily case average of 21.7 in Anderson County was up from 17.1 in the prior two-week period. Roane County averaged 19.8 new cases per day, up from 13.9 previously.
After peaking in July, the new daily case counts dropped in both counties in August before trending back up starting in September.
The county trend roughly matches the state trend. There has also been an overall upward trend in cases across the country, where 500,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past week during what could be a third nationwide peak.
In Tennessee, the state’s high number of new daily cases has surpassed previous records. On Wednesday, health officials, including Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, said positivity rates are up, and hospitalizations are at an all-time high and increasing at an alarming rate.
“Our case count is growing across Tennessee,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said during a media briefing after completing a 14-day quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19. The new surge has surpassed the July surge, Lee said.
State and health officials emphasized the importance of individual measures such as wearing masks, maintaining distances from people outside your home, getting a flu shot, and washing your hands frequently to help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Besides the record number of new cases, the positivity rates remains high in both Anderson and Roane counties. It averaged 11.7 percent in Roane County during the past seven days. That means that there have been, on average, almost 12 new positive test results for each 100 new tests each day, which is high. In Anderson County, the positivity rate averaged 8.7 percent during the past week. World Health Organization guidelines call for a positivity rate around 5 percent or less for 14 days before activities re-open.
Anderson County has reported 1,767 total cases of COVID-19, with 14 deaths and 47 hospitalizations. The number of active cases is 233, and 1,520 cases are considered recovered, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Roane County has reported 1,387 cases of COVID-19, with eight deaths and 39 hospitalizations. The number of active cases is 229, and 1,150 cases are considered recovered.
The two counties with the most cases are Shelby (Memphis area) with 37,111 cases and 570 deaths, and Davidson (Nashville area) with 32,483 cases and 346 deaths.
Knox County (Knoxville area) is third with 13,049 cases and 95 deaths.
See the Coronavirus-19 Outbreak Response Experts (CORE-19) website at the University of Tennessee here.
See previous story here.