Tennessee Governor Bill Lee did not renew the COVID-19 state of emergency that expired Friday night, but he reserved the right to use it again if there are future surges of the virus.
“I am not renewing the COVID-19 state of emergency that expires tonight,” Lee said in a brief statement Friday. “For almost 20 months, this tool has provided deregulation and operational flexibility for hospitals and industries most affected by COVID’s challenges. Should our state face any future surges, we will consider temporarily reinstating this tool, but in the meantime, we are evaluating opportunities for permanent deregulation.”
In the third major statewide surge, this one caused by the delta variant, COVID-19 cases peaked in Anderson County in the first half of September, with a high seven-day average of 89.6 cases on September 11 and a peak of 152 cases on September 10. New cases fell after that but plateaued at about 15-17 new cases per day in late October, and they have remained there for about three weeks. That’s still considerably higher than the summer low average of fewer than one new COVID case per day, on average, in late June and early July, before the delta variant surge started in about mid-July.
Meanwhile, the positivity rate appears to be climbing again and remains higher than the 5% recommended by the World Health Organization. The seven-day average on Friday was 8.8%. The positivity rate measures how many tests are positive among new COVID-19 tests each day.
Anderson County has reported 13,358 cases, equivalent to about 17 percent of the county’s population, since the pandemic began in Tennessee on March 20, 2020. There have been 307 hospitalizations and 232 deaths in Anderson County due to COVID-19, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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