Active cases jump back up; Mayor Brittain extends mask mandate

Rising number of COVID-19 cases has caused one facility to close its doors: the Morristown-Hamblen Public Library.

Library officials said Monday that the library would be closed indefinitely.

“It’s closed until further notice,” said Shelly Shropshire, director of the library.

She said the library staff has no known positive cases at this time. But, it is closed as active cases continue to fluctuate in levels not seen since the summer months. The number of deaths continue to climb as well.

“We’re just on the cautious side,” Shropshire said.

The state reported a total of 467 active cases in Hamblen County Monday and 61 deaths. The 467 active cases are the most active cases since two weeks ago when within days, the number of cases went from around 230 to more than 470.

The number of deaths have risen as well. Within the last three weeks, there have been a total of 10 deaths in Hamblen County related to COVID-19.

State numbers also broke records Monday. The state reported a total of 7,975 new active cases Monday, 48 deaths and 91 more hospitalizations. There are currently 2,290 people hospitalized across the state, according to state records.

The increase comes as Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain extended the county’s mask mandate Monday until the end of the year.

Over the last seven days, the state reported the county’s COVID testing positivity rate at 17.4%. The county has been listed in the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s Red Zone for several weeks due to the positivity rate being above 10%.

State records show the number of cases on par with the peak over the summer at the end of July and the beginning of August.

The number of new cases reported Monday were 106, the second most increase since the start of the pandemic in March. The peak number of new cases in a day was 125 reported on July 27.

The CDC proposes the following guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

• Wear a mask or facial covering

• Socially distance and stand at least six-feet away from another person

• Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 30 seconds frequently

• Use hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol