COVID-19: 10/23/2020 Update (State, Local, UTK, KCS, Including Today’s UTK Briefing)

Tennessee Daily Cases 10.23.2020 (Source:

It’s the weekend! Celebrate with a long walk or a good book. Check out the entertainment options listed in this morning’s article. We’d probably all be better off if we took the next week-and-a-half off social media. If not, maybe we should ask ourselves if what we read there makes us more happy or less happy and if what we post elevates the readers or denigrates them. Are we spreading positive thoughts or posting memes and statements that reinforce the pervasive anger in our country? I’m looking in the mirror.

State News: 

The state of Tennessee reported 2,046 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the pandemic totals to 225,658 confirmed cases and 12,249 probable cases. 212,555 are reported as inactive, leaving 10,092 ill with the virus. The current seven-day average for cases is 2,155 per day.

The state reported 41 deaths for the day, which pushed the state total to over 3,000 at 3,011. It was the seventh deadliest day for the state since the beginning of the pandemic. The seven-day average for deaths is now 21, within the range where it has stayed since early August.

68 additional COVID-positive people were hospitalized yesterday across the state, bringing the pandemic total to 9,802 COVID-positive Tennesseans hospitalized at some point during the pandemic. The number of people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state dropped yesterday, from 1300 to 1,248. Of these, 388 are in ICUs and 160 are on ventilators.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 10.23.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

The state reported results on 19,824 tests yesterday, bringing the pandemic total to solidly over 3.4 million tests given in the state. Tennessee ranks 11th in the U.S. for the number of tests given and 9th in per capita testing. The state reported a 10.11% positive test result for the group of tests. Johns Hopkins University is reporting a seven-day average of 9% positive test results for the state, the highest it has been since early August.

Knox County Daily Cases 10.23.2020 (Source: Knox County Health Department)

Local News:

The Knox County Health Department reported 93 additional COVID-19 cases today, bringing the pandemic totals to 12,152 confirmed cases and 573 probable cases. 11,350 cases are counted as inactive and 1,276 are considered active.

Today, there are 67 COVID-positive Knox County residents in the hospital, a number that has remained steadily in the 60s after setting a new record of 70 on October 13. 450 Knox County residents have been hospitalized with the illness at some point this year. The state website, which updates local positive test results now has Knox County at a 12.6% positive test rate.

There were no additional deaths reported, leaving that total at 99 so far in the pandemic.

University of Tennessee Active Cases 10.23.2020 (Source: University of Tennessee)

University of Tennessee News:

The University of Tennessee is reporting 57 active cases, down from 61 yesterday. 1,646 in the University community have recovered. 8 new cases were added yesterday, and 308 students and staff are in quarantine or isolation. The number in isolation or quarantine is down from 337 the day before and includes 32 employees, 94 residential students and 182 students living off campus.

UTK Briefing:

Dr. John Zomchick headed the briefing and confirmed the above numbers. He said participation numbers are better in the pooled saliva testing. He noted that the positivity rate is less than 1% and suggests the virus has been controlled on campus. Dr. Amber Williams joined the briefing and discussed academic support.

Knox County Schools Active Cases 10.23.2020 (Source: Knox County Schools)

Knox County Schools News:

The Knox County School System is reporting 79 active cases, including 49 students and 30 staff members. The number of active cases is up one from the day before. 446 students and staff have had the illness and are now considered inactive.

There are 594 in quarantine or isolation, including 504 students and 90 staff members. This number is up from 577 yesterday but remains well below the 1,000+ numbers seen earlier in the semester. The metric codes remain the same, with only custodial staff and substitute availability currently rated yellow.

Going into the weekend, all schools continue to maintain in-person instruction.


  1. concerned parent 2 says

    Did Dr. Zomchick give the actual participation rate in the pooled saliva testing? A positive test rate below 1% anywhere in a county pushing a 13% positive rate would seem… too good to be true. Seems to me the students most at risk for being positive (those who refuse to wear masks while socializing) are the ones refusing to provide a saliva sample – or don’t live on campus and, iirc, aren’t required to provide one (greeks…). But, hopefully, the students are being conscientious in general and keeping each other healthy.

    • I have the same concern about the students on campus who are not complying with the testing requirement and actually sent a message to the chancellor about that after today’s briefing. I also am concerned about students who don’t live on campus not being tested. Students in Greek housing DO have to be test (or at least have signed contracts with UT agreeing to comply with testing).

  2. Great suggestion — we spent this week at Frozen Head State Park with no internet or cell phone access. Blue skies, colorful leaves, wood smoke, and friends outdoors. It was WONDERFUL.

  3. Bob Fischer says

    While I’m not sure that being out in some unique spot in the world during peak leaf week qualifies as some sort of competitive human activity, but if it does, my wife and I would probably be pretty good at seniors doubles.

    A slight breeze was all it took to beg the leaves to earth. The hickory leaves fluttered down like swallowtails. The sound of their landing was an understated symphony. It wasn’t like last year’s nor’easter at the islands around Cape Cod nor the year before on the train from Bryson City, but it was a perfect moment in a perfect place of time, sorry John.

    What constitutes peak weekend is a topic of mostly happiness for my wife and I. We talked about the front rolling through tonight and how many leaves would actually be left after it was gone. It was a day of peace and beauty wrapped in whatever we call these times. It was pretty cool. I needed it. Except for the part where our elderly dog threw up tonight after a hard day of keeping up with two geezers. Routine is everything. I hope she didn’t throw up on my pillow. So far most of what I’m hearing would be broadly described as sounds and noises that don’t indicate good things. I think I will put off going back as long as I can. No. I’m not going to do that. I’m going back there right now. All is good. All is good.

    I’m concerned about our community. We seem to have lost empathy, compassion and the ability to do basic math. It is not better for business to have a sick, miserable, customer base.

    I appreciate the call to attend the county commission meeting and spend five minutes pleading a case where you’ll likely lose credibility after about 30 seconds anyway. (I’m basing that on when the current speeches usually break down), but please consider something.

    County commission meetings are now a measured causal event. It is safest if one avoids them. YOU WILL BE EXPOSED TO COVID. THAT IS THE POINT. Please consider voicing your displeasure in a manner not likely to spread disease. There will be insufficient time for public review of last Monday’s meeting. To my knowledge, the commission planning session still hasn’t been posted for review. That’s an important public record. We should have access to it.

    Please, let’s consider whether or not we should normalize deliberately walking into high risk situations. I respect and appreciate everybody considering that action, but I have concerns.

  4. Lisa Starbuck says

    Do you know how many ICU beds there are in Knoxville?

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