COVID-19: 10/30/2020 Update (State, Local, UTK, KCS and Today’s UTK Briefing)

Tennessee Daily Cases 10.30.2020 (Source: TN.gov)

It’s the last update before the weekend and I hope you have wonderful, safe plans. We’ve got a fun Halloween party at the Urban Household for our two young ones. Casper – the old and the new – is on tap, among other things.

A quick note on local voting: 153,197 people voted early and in-person in Knox County, which is up from 135,737 four years ago. So far, 13,080 absentee ballots have been registered (with probably more to come) compared to 5,315 total four years ago. The total of votes cast so far is equivalent to 89.9% of all votes cast in the last election. In the last election, early voting represented 76.8% of the total vote.

We’ll learn in a few days whether more people simply voted early or whether a larger number will vote this time around. My sense is that the polls will be crowded on Tuesday and we’ll have one of, if not the largest voter turnout in the county’s history. As a footnote, I’ve followed the Love Kitchen early voting site and the turnout there more than doubled the turnout from four years ago, from 4,363 to 9,536.

Now a note on comments: I’ve rarely blocked people from making comments, but I’ve done it from time-to-time. Usually, it’s when the person becomes abusive and starts dropping f-bombs. It happened yesterday. When it happened and I looked for earlier comments from that person, it became obvious that person was commenting under three different names, thus falsely amplifying their points. The emails were bogus. Just to be clear: You cannot comment under more than one profile. Just don’t. And if you direct name calling or f-bombs at others, you are done.

State News:

The state of Tennessee reported 2,660 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the pandemic totals to 242,575 confirmed cases and 14,305 probable cases. 227,271 have recovered and 12,041 people currently have active cases. The seven-day average for new cases in Tennessee is 2,710. Yesterday, the state ranked 12th in the U.S. for new cases.

22 deaths were reported in the state for the day, bringing the death toll in Tennessee from the virus to 3,263. The seven-day average for deaths in the state is 36 per day. Yesterday, Tennessee reported the 14th highest death total among the fifty states.

68 COVID-positive Tennesseans were admitted to hospitals across the state yesterday, bringing the total hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic to 10,208. Continuing to use hospitalization totals from two days ago in order to report more accurate numbers, the state reported 1,396 COVID-positive Tennesseans currently hospitalized. Of these, 415 are in ICUs and 166 are on ventilators. Six weeks ago, those numbers respectively were 814, 264 and 125. The increase has been steep and steady.

Tennessee Daily Testing and Positive Test Result Rate 10.30.2020 (Source: Johns Hopkins University)

The number of tests reported increased for the third consecutive day and entered the average-to-high range for the state at about 28,800. The total number of tests given by the state is over 3.6 million. The state reported a 9.5% positive test rate for the day and Johns Hopkins University is reporting a slightly improved 9.4% seven-day positive test average.

Knox County Daily Cases 10.30.2020 (Source: Knox County Health Department)

Local News:

The Knox County Health Department reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 for the day, bringing the totals to 13,035 confirmed and 652 probable for the duration of the pandemic. 1,453 people currently have active cases. 12,129 people have now cases considered inactive.

67 COVID-positive Knox County residents are currently hospitalized, bringing the total hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic to 468. Two additional deaths were reported, both of whom represent persons over 75. Total deaths from COVID-19 in the county have now reached 105.

University of Tennessee Active Cases 10.30.2020 (Source: University of Tennessee)

University of Tennessee News:

The University of Tennessee numbers remain low relative to mid-September but have continued to rise over recent days. There are now 72 identified active cases on campus, which includes 11 staff members and 61 students. The number, while relatively low, is the highest the university has reported since October 2.

10 additional positive tests were reported yesterday and 324 are currently in isolation or quarantine. Of these, 42 are employees and 282 are students. It is the highest number in quarantine or isolation reported by the university since October 21. There are no new clusters to report and pooled saliva testing has been completed for the semester with extremely low positive test rate. Some of the dorms were close to 3%, while several were below 1%.

UTK Briefing:

Chancellor Plowman led today’s briefing and thanked students for their (now) high participation rate in on-campus testing. As a result of high participation and low positive test rates, visitation between housing units on campus is now allowed, once more. She also pointed out that UTK won recent recognition for their handling of the pandemic. They also received recognition for their COVID dashboard.

She emphasized that campus cases remain low but are spiking elsewhere and pled with the students to continue to maintain safe practices. Dr. Gregg noted that they have been pleasantly surprised that the numbers didn’t spike as they’d expected given the broad testing. He encouraged testing before returning home for the upcoming holiday. Students will not return to campus after Thanksgiving.

Knox County Schools Active Cases 10.30.2020 (Source: Knox County Schools)

Knox County Schools News:

The Knox County Schools are reporting 65 active cases, which includes 24 staff and 41 students, precisely the same number reported the day before. 523 students and staff are now considered to have inactive cases and 1,001 are currently in isolation or quarantine.

The number in quarantine or isolation has grown steadily since fall break and is approaching the levels reported before the break. The number is the highest it has been since October 7. Of those in quarantine or isolation, 880 are students and 121 are staff.

The metrics used to determine if schools can remain open are all green, except for the two that have been issues throughout the year: Custodial staff and substitutes. In good news, each of those are now yellow, whereas they had been red earlier in the week.

Comments

  1. How many registered voters are there in Knox County?

  2. Rachel Leah Greene says

    I’m sorry that there is such nastiness out there. Thank you for what you do!

  3. Bob Fischer says

    First, allow me to apologize for my posts showing up as both B and Bob Fischer. It was a mistake as opposed to a plan and I’m not sure why that function changes around on my various devices. I have been noticing too that the number of people Safari blocks from hacking my account tends to fluctuate with the amount of posting I do. It’s hard to ignore the implications of that and I’ve been writing off glitches like that to the goblins that got by Safari. I suppose I should add increased vigilance to the series of behaviors I’ve had to change for Covid. Or I could just be hitting the wrong side of my mouse, which I have recently discovered does strange things as well.

    I feel like we’re winding down the first quarter of the Covid situation and are at a crossroads. Clearly, Mayor Jacobs has decided to continue down the path of infect, hospitalize, and kill as many of his constituents as possible, but what is less clear is how the Board of Health, the business community and the citizens of Knox County are going to proceed. The tribal terrorist movement in County Commission is concerning, but I’m not sure it’s as deeply rooted as Commissioners Biggs and Ward would have us believe. Once we hold Jacobs, Biggs and Wards supporters accountable for their actions with a consumer and political action, we may see movement on a united strategy to get Covid in check. I have been most impressed with Knox County Schools and UT’s response, and can’t help but wonder what would have happened had Glenn Jacobs done the right and smart thing when he attempted to seize total control of the Covid response. I can pretty much promise that our ancillary community football revenues would have at least doubled. Plus, it would have been nice to have that ten days of practice back that were lost due to the overwhelming surge in community spread directly fueled by Glenn Jacobs handling of this crisis. It’s hard to build a team with a new coaching staff and young players when everybody’s quarantined. If Jacobs doesn’t get behind the mask mandate, recruiting will suffer and may be decimated. It’s up to County Commission to reign him in and I just don’t know that that will happen.

    We can have a basketball season in an empty Thompson Boling Arena, but it’s difficult for businesses depending on those fans to make any money if those fans can’t come to the game. Chancellor Plowman has shown the intelligence and strength of character to know she will do the right things to keep the University open. I just don’t see her signing on for the mythical herd immunity fantasy or any other bogus, idiotic theory for magically emerging end of this pandemic. Time will tell what’s going to happen, but our current situation suggests that we will be in our biggest surge with our highest hospitalizations and death rate in December. This will be directly due to to Mayor Jacobs, Kyle Ward’s and Justin Biggs undermining and sabotage of the Board of Health’ss duty. How many Knox County citizens will we allow them to kill before we put a check on their bloodlust? Are we really going to allow them to destroy Christmas inKnoxville?

    We have decisions to make about what we expect our elected leaders to do and what we want Knoxville to look like for the next few years. Do we want the roaming shutdowns in our schools or do we want to work together to keep them open? Do we want grocery stores to be terrorist battlefields with gorilla warfare unmasked customers infecting the rest of us at every turn in the aisle? Do we want to accept a new normal where only criminals in violation of our mask mandate have free reign in our streets? Must we risk our health, lives, families and livelihoods in order to succumb to the will of an evil elected County Mayor? Or will we stand up and build a successful town in spite of our circumstances? As Getty Lee once, “If we choose not to decide, we’ll still have made a choice.”

    So the second quarter is staring us in the face. How will having the worst county leadership in the nation and a never-ending Covid crisis affect our signing class. Why would anyone play for UT given that their life off the field would be filled with solitary confinement and their on field life be dictated by quarantines and forfeits brought on by the incompetent leadership of Glen Jacobs? Why would a coach sign up to come to a town whose County Mayor has dedicated himself to destroying the athletic department and all those coming here to achieve and succeed? Why would fans hold out hope that a carpetbagger even understand what UT athletics means to this community? The first quarter is coming to a close and we need to decide where we want to be at halftime, because right now, all we’re looking at is a whole bunch of dead people for Christmas.

  4. Bob Dundas says

    The problem is, and will continue to be, those who are in denial. I don’t think anyone can change their minds unless they have a near-death experience; and it’s these people, when challenged, who immediately spout the f-bombs and expletives. I have a house in Knoxville and in Miami Florida. South Florida is burning with virus, and you can still see the bars and clubs hopping with clueless non-masked people, so it’s everywhere. When they catch it, it does seem to wake them up, though; one co-worker who has been particularly hoax-oriented got sick with it and nearly died. He now has a changed outlook.
    Keep up the great work Alan, you’re a breath of fresh Smoky mountain air!

    • @ Bob,

      We have the same bars here not adhering and wearing masks as the bars in Florida.

      So who’s fault is that? Mayor Jacobs, Biggs, or maybe the sheriff. Maybe it’s the board of health s fault for not implementing the proper mandates.

      It is ridiculous to blame one over the other for something that may or not be going according to plan. Do you or anyone you know have the china virus aka covid-19 book of?

      Not everything has to be a blame game. And most if not all of what you just put out is blame, innuendos, opinions, fear, hate and bias.

      Just so I understand, what current situation are we in? We test more, the numbers go up. The numbers up, a % get hospitalized and or die.

      We test less, numbers go down, etc, etc, etc. Problem as I see it, when the numbers go down, mandates are less restrictive which in turn increases risk and carelessness.

      Instead, those dictating our lives atm should should stick to a uniform enforceable set of mandates and laws that DO NOT get reduced until this damn BS is behind is 100%

      So this current suggests December will be high In hospitalizations and deaths, solely because of Mayor Jacobs, Biggs, etc, because of their sabotage and undermining of the board of health. Which to date has not affected them in anyway shape or form.

      Where is the logic? Your no different than the ones you spew hate about. You just do it in a different way.

      I was always brought up being told by my Dad, the old adage.

      If you can’t be part of solution, don’t be part of the problem!

      Time will tell what’s going to happen, but our current situation suggests that we will be in our biggest surge with our highest hospitalizations and death rate in December. This will be directly due to to Mayor Jacobs, Kyle Ward’s and Justin Biggs undermining and sabotage of the Board of Health’ss duty. How many Knox

      • [quote]So who’s fault is that? Mayor Jacobs, Biggs, or maybe the sheriff. Maybe it’s the board of health s fault for not implementing the proper mandates.[/quote] Honestly? It’s the fault of the federal govt for not having one, uniform, nationally mandated policy for all states.

        [quote]Not everything has to be a blame game. And most if not all of what you just put out is blame, innuendos, opinions, fear, hate and bias.[/quote] No, it’s not. I’m stating facts- the bar patrons are in FACT mostly not wearing masks. And it’s a FACT that it’s situations like these that spread the virus much faster.

        [quote] Instead, those dictating our lives atm should should stick to a uniform enforceable set of mandates and laws that DO NOT get reduced until this damn BS is behind is 100%[/quote] I couldn’t agree more, quite right.

        [quote]I was always brought up being told by my Dad, the old adage.
        If you can’t be part of solution, don’t be part of the problem![/quote]
        Exactly. So, be part of the solution; wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently. Simple, really. No need for claims of bias and hate; practically every doctor in the USA advocates the above but it sure brings out the f-bombs in some folks.
        Have a great day, Dean, I’m done here.

      • billshearn says

        “We test less, numbers go down” is your statement. Does this apply to pregnancy tests also? Your logic would imply that if you don’t take a pregnancy test, you won’t be pregnant. Is this what you believe?

  5. I agree with those above sentiments from others. Without any support from the governor, the city mayor and the county mayor for a mask mandate with penalties for not following it, we’re held at bay by the Covidiots who are too selfish to help others stay safe.

    • There are virtually no cops or judges that would enforce that.

      • Bob Fischer says

        There’s plenty of judges that would enforce it. You have to get it before them for that to happen though.

        • The type of people who would get that ticket are the same type of person who wouldn’t show up for a $50 ticket and they sure as hell wouldn’t pay it. You gonna arrest them for that? Well you would but not many others would. The best way we had to get people wearing mask has come and gone.

          I’m more concerned about getting some of these morons out of office. I’ve actually started donating money to politicians this year. Something I said I would never do and I don’t plan on forgetting about who is saying what right now, local, state and federal.

          • Bob Fischer says

            Who would I get to arrest these people or give them the ticket to begin with? Neither the sheriff nor the County Mayor is doing the job they were elected to do. The executive branch is in charge of enforcing the law. If they choose to operate outside the rule of law, and County Commission allows them to act in any manner they choose, regardless of their legal obligations, and citizens don’t bring suit to hold them accountable then they get to act as independent entities accountable to no one. That’s what’s happening.

  6. Gregory Austin says

    I was in my local Kroger store last week and encountered several people not wearing masks. I saw an assistant manager and suggested to him that not allowing unmasked people to make a purchase would be an effective solution. He stated they were controlled by corporate policy. Perhaps a one day boycott would show some of these businesses that the majority of their clientele want to be protected and their policy should not reflect the want of a few uninformed who are undermining the health of the majority of the population. Perhaps that would open their eyes and make them reconsider their policy based on bottom line and not on health and security!

    • Bob Fischer says

      It will be more than one day.

    • I saw Kroger employees not wearing a mask Tuesday. I go to Kroger at 7:30 am for safety reasons so I was peeved. Had to self-checkout because both the cashier and the bagger had their masks well below their noses.

      • Bob Fischer says

        I was in Aldi’s today and for the life of me, I don’t know why I haven’t made it my go-to grocery store. An Aldi’s or Trader Joe’s would redefine downtown.

        • For the love of Christ, yes please add another Trader Joe’s. The line at the Kingston pike store is unbearable and I miss my unexpected cheddar.

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