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The recent spike in COVID-19 numbers in Sullivan County isn’t due to a specific, identifiable “cluster” or group, Sullivan County Regional Health Department Director Gary Mayes told the Times News on Friday.

“It’s from community spread,” Mayes said. “There is no identifiable single source as in the past, when there were clusters on a sports team, or in the jail or in a nursing home. The rising cases really are community wide. It’s unlike anything we’ve had since the pandemic began.”

New COVID-19 cases reported on Friday in Sullivan County, at 29, were relatively lower than each day over the past few days (42, 62, 54, 43, 48, 84). And there were no new deaths reported in Sullivan County or the entire eight-county Northeast Tennessee region.

New case numbers were based on 5,750 test results, statewide, since Thursday (when that day’s new numbers were based on 24,653 test results), with a positive rate of 10.4%. A week earlier, the statewide daily test positive rate was 6.04%.

Sullivan’s 29 new cases were among 68 reported on Friday across Northeast Tennessee and brought the county’s total cases to 2,943 (with 42 deaths). Sullivan County continued to lead the region in active cases, at 487 (up two since Thursday).

“Every indicator we monitor is increasing,” Mayes said.

The 68 new cases for the region brought Northeast Tennessee’s total to 11,172 (with 197 deaths).

Statewide, eight new deaths and 666 new cases were reported, which brought Tennessee’s totals to 223,493 cases (212,682 confirmed and 10,811 probable) and 2,871 deaths (2,738 confirmed and 133 probable. The state’s COVID-19 death tally increased by only seven, compared to Thursday, because the state removed an earlier reported death.

The 223,493 figure included 201,831 cases listed as “inactive/recovered.”

Numbers for Northeast Tennessee’s other counties:

• Washington County had 19 new cases (2,874 total, with 42 deaths) and 310 active cases.

• Greene County had nine new cases (1,444 total, with 48 deaths) and 193 active cases.

• Carter County had seven new cases (1,366 total, with 32 deaths) and 115 active cases.

• Hawkins County had four new cases (1,043 total, with 23 deaths) and 134 active cases.

• Johnson County had zero new cases (1,060 total, with six deaths) and 266 active cases.

• Unicoi County had zero new cases (330 total, with one death) and 33 active cases.

• Hancock County had zero new cases (112 total, with three deaths) and two active cases.

The eight new deaths reported statewide, by age group: four in the 71-80 group; two in the 81+ group; and two in the 61-70 group. The state adjusted total deaths in the 51-60 group from 287 on Thursday to 286 on Friday.

Source: Tennessee Department of Health, daily COVID-19 report, Oct. 17, 2020; interview, Gary Mayes.