Knox County Daily Cases 9.11.2020 (Source: Knox County Health Department)
It’s the weekend. Let’s get out and grab some (safe) fun. We’ve taken to watching for the tiger from our balcony and watching to see if any planes land on top of our parking garage. So far, no success. Given the state of the world and the state of the city, anything seems possible. Here’s hoping that as the strangeness continues it is of the fun variety. Watch out for tigers, everybody.
The state of Tennessee reported 1,650 new cases of COVID-19, yesterday, as the testing program is ramping back up after the holiday slowdown (the chart I usually post was not updated). The pandemic total is now 163,515 confirmed cases and 4,722 probable cases.
Over 25,000 tests were reported yesterday, bringing the total tests given to almost 2.4 million. The seven day average for positive test results sits at 6.8%, while the state reports a 7.15% rate out of today’s reported testing. The state is reporting 151,202 people are recovered/inactive and 10,325 people remain ill.
Either death reports were also delayed, or yesterday was a very bad day for reported deaths. The number of deaths reported across the state yesterday was 57, the second-highest daily total since the beginning of the pandemic. It brings the total to 1,988. Deaths have been rising for three consecutive days and the seven day average for deaths quickly returned to the mid-twenties (25).
The number of hospitalizations dropped overnight by forty to 808, despite the fact that there were 105 new hospitalizations. Presumably, the net drop came from the large number of deaths, combined with discharges. All hospital numbers continue to trend downward, with COVID-positive ICU patients now at 273 and ventilated patients now at 135.
Knox County News:
Today, the Knox County Health Department is reporting 120 new cases, to bring the pandemic total to 7,997. There are an additional 294 probable cases. Of these, 6,249 cases are now inactive and 1,978 people remain ill. There are currently 41 people in the hospital, bringing the pandemic total to 299 COVID-positive Knox County residents who have been hospitalized. There are no additional deaths to report, leaving that total at 64.
University of Tennessee News:
UTK active case numbers continue to increase, though at a slower pace. The university is reporting 672 cases, up just 10 from yesterday. Of these, 661 are students and 11 are staff. 426 have recovered. The rate of increase for isolated and quarantined students and staff also continues to rise, but at a slower pace. As of today, 2,003 students (1,018 off campus, 985 on campus) and 76 staff members. The first new cluster in nearly a week has been identified.
Dr. Plowman started by detailing steps taken since Tuesday. Isolation rooms have been increased and Massey Hall continues to be shifted to a dedicated facility for the purpose. Most new infections have been through small indoor gatherings without masks. Visitors are being banned from on-campus residences and only room mates or suite mates may mingle. All meals will be served as carry-out.
Students are encouraged to gather outside. T-Recs is being closed for two weeks and all events and exercise classes are being moved outside. There will be no indoor events. Systematic testing in dorms will begin. She said the increase necessitated the moves. She said as they test all Massey Hall students before they are moved, they will have to quarantine until their test results come back, which may drive up the on-campus quarantine numbers.
She noted that the first cluster has been discovered in a residence hall, White Hall. She said a cluster is at least five positive cases or at least 20 close contacts linked together by event or location. They found six cases related to one wing of the residence hall. Those six are isolated and all those in the wing are now under quarantine.
Dr. Gregg said we have not yet seen the impact of Labor Day and that potential increase will likely only show a week to two weeks after the event. Dr. Plowman expressed hope that increase will be less because classes were held that day.
Dr. Gregg discussed the upcoming systemic testing. The testing will include waste water testing and will alert UT where to focus. Pooled saliva testing is also going to be used. The goal is to identify groups and individuals who are at risk and others who may be infected but not have symptoms. This will likely increase isolations and quarantines. At home specimen collection tests are also to be distributed. The campus clusters have prompted the move and they anticipate identified cases to increase with the expanded testing program.
Dr. Plowman ended by saying they understand the new restrictions are cumbersome and they hope they can lift them by September 27. She said the measures are necessitated by the rapid increase in cases and are necessary to continue on-campus education. She said the student code of conduct would be used if any students refuse to cooperated. She asked that students meet the moment by reducing close contacts.
Knox County Schools:
The Knox County School System is reporting 58 active cases, including 41 students and 17 staff. The numbers reflect increases (even though the graph above suggests the numbers remained the same) of 4 total cases, 3 students and 1 staff member. It’s a slower rate of increase than reported on previous days. 129 students and staff are listed as recovered.
There are 871 in isolation or quarantine (792 students and 79 staff), which is up from 823 yesterday. The rate of increase has slowed, but is about 31.6% higher than the same day last week. All metrics remain unchanged and Cedar Bluff Middle School continues to be the only school on a completely virtual status.