Forget about clusters. Go anywhere in public now without taking precautions against COVID-19, and you’re at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus that has killed 413 people in Ballad Health’s 21-county service area since March 1.
That was part of the message on Wednesday from the health system’s chief infection prevention officer and assistant vice president of infection prevention.
Her name is Jamie Swift, and she said the region faces a “dire situation” as it finds itself “in a really bad place in this pandemic.”
“We’re really in widespread community spread of COVID-19,” Swift said. “People continue to ask me, ‘Where is it coming from? Is it clusters? Is it this source or that?’ We’re past the point of that question. We are at the point in our community that if you go out, you’re at risk of contracting COVID-19 if you’re not taking the proper precautions. It is truly widespread at this point. It’s past time we adjust our behavior as a community.”
In its daily COVID-19 report on Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 199 new cases and one new COVID-19 death in Northeast Tennessee, in Sullivan County, bringing the state’s tally of COVID-19 deaths in Sullivan County to 49.
But the Sullivan County Regional Health Department updated its own statistics late Tuesday and showed the county with 51 COVID-19 deaths. The disparity shows how state numbers sometimes lag local numbers, as daily statistics are submitted to Nashville, processed, and ultimately included in a statewide report.
Sullivan County, according to the state on Wednesday, had 846 active COVID-19 cases.
The Sullivan County Regional Health Department’s update late Tuesday showed the agency was monitoring 1,189 active cases.
Otherwise, the TDH reported the following numbers Wednesday for Northeast Tennessee’s eight counties:
• Sullivan County: 77 new cases, 3,923 total cases.
• Washington County: 48 new cases, 3,663 total cases with 53 deaths, and 652 active cases.
• Carter County: 32 new cases, 1,630 total cases with 34 deaths, and 214 active cases.
• Hawkins County: 13 new cases, 1,245 total cases with 25 deaths, and 163 active cases.
• Unicoi County: 12 new cases, 457 total cases with three deaths, and 113 active cases.
• Greene County: 10 new cases, 1,831 total cases with 54 deaths, and 317 active cases.
• Johnson County: five new cases, 1,171 total cases with seven deaths, and 93 active cases.
• Hancock County: two new cases, 123 total cases with three deaths, and eight active cases.
Statewide, 34 new COVID-19 deaths and 2,446 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Wednesday by the TDH.
Those numbers brought Tennessee’s pandemic totals to 3,241 deaths (3,067 confirmed as COVID-19 and 174 probable) and 254,220 cases (240,198 confirmed as COVID-19 and 14,022 probable). Of the 254,220 total, 224,822 were listed as “inactive/recovered.”
The numbers were based on 22,000 new test results statewide, compared to Tuesday, with a positive rate of 10.68%.
Sullivan County’s average positive rate over the last seven days: 18.4%.
Over the past 14 days, Sullivan County has averaged 76 new cases per day. In the 14 days prior, Sullivan County had averaged 39.4 cases per day.
According to Ballad Health’s daily COVID-19 Scorecard, the positive rate for the system’s 21-county service area over the past seven days was at 15.2% on Wednesday.