Tennessee Department of Health, daily COVID-19 dashboard, Oct. 17, 2020

Two new COVID-19 deaths and 129 new cases were reported Saturday in Sullivan County, bringing the county’s death toll to 44 and pushing its total cases over the 3,000 mark for the first time, to 3,072.

On Friday, Sullivan County Regional Health Department Director Gary Mayes told the Times News recent increases in all indicators used to measure COVID-19 had not been traced to any specific group or “cluster,” and numbers were rising due to community spread.

The two new deaths reported in Sullivan County were the only new COVID-19 deaths reported Saturday for the eight-county Northeast Tennessee region, which brought the region’s total deaths to 199.

Sullivan County’s 129 new cases accounted for nearly half of the 261 new cases reported for all of Northeast Tennessee. The region’s total climbed to 11,433. New cases for the other seven counties: 59 in Washington County (2,933 total, with 42 deaths); 22 in Carter County (1,388 total, with 32 deaths); 20 in Greene County (1,464 total, with 48 deaths); 14 in Hawkins County (1,057 total, with 23 deaths); 10 in Unicoi County (340 total, with one death); six in Johnson County (1,066 total, with six deaths); and one in Hancock County (113 total, with three deaths).

Statewide, 32 new deaths and 2,646 new cases were reported, which brought Tennessee’s totals to 2,903 deaths (2,770 confirmed and 133 probable) and 226,139 cases (215,062 confirmed and 11,077 probable). Of the 226,139 figure, 203,586 were listed as “inactive/recovered.”

The new case numbers were based on 30,354 new test results statewide, compared to Friday, with a positive rate of 8.62%. That is the lowest positive rate since Tuesday and a drop from 10.4% on Friday (5,750 tests), 9.55% on Thursday (24,653 tests), and 8.73% on Wednesday (17,898 tests).

On Friday, the Tennessee Department of Health used social media to announce, “{span}Our reporting system infrastructure experienced technical issues on 10/15 resulting in lower test numbers for the 10/16 report. Our IT professionals are working diligently to correct it. We anticipate higher than normal numbers over the next few days as the backlog is cleared.”{/span}

Source: Tennessee Department of Health, daily COVID-19 report, Oct. 17, 2020; Tennessee Department of Health Twitter account, Oct. 16, 2020.