Active Hamblen COVID cases approach record number

The total number of COVID-19 cases spiked once again over the weekend.

The state reported a total of 469 active cases in Hamblen County Monday, the most cases since the county hit peak numbers in late July and early August.

Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain, chairman of the Hamblen County COVID-19 Task Force, said there is more concern as Thanksgiving occurs in just a matter of days.

Especially if the number of active cases shoots up further.

“That concerns me and the impact it will have on our school system and our health system,” he said. “We don’t need that happening.”

He said that it was expected the numbers would rise as the cold weather set in and more people would be indoors and in contact with each other.

The county has recorded 57 deaths, so far, since the pandemic began in March. Over the last seven days, the positivity rate has been recorded at 13.8%, down from 20% almost a week ago. The county is still in the White House Coronavirus Red Zone, though, which says any county above 10% is in the danger level.

The state reported that the county is currently averaging around 51 cases per 100,000 people per day.

Brittain said people need to take the precautions necessary, such as wearing a mask and washing hands. He also said to make sure to socially distance and stand at least six feet away from each other, though he acknowledged it is harder with everyone being indoors.

Sherrie Montgomery, director of the Hamblen County Health Department, said they had their first extended day of testing yesterday, which lasted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

She said people were lined up at 7 a.m. and the amount of testing was steady the entire day. The health department broke a record for the amount of testing.

“It was 539 for the day,” she said.

The health department will be closing Wednesday at 3 p.m., so she encouraged the public if they want to get tested to come before that. It will also be closed for Thanksgiving.

Next Monday, the health department will also hold a second extended testing event at its Hamblen County facility from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

She encouraged everyone for Thanksgiving to hold small gatherings with people they know. She also said if the weather is nice to hold the gathering outdoors. The high for Thursday is supposed to be 67 degrees with only a 6% chance of rain.

She said COVID-19 has not gone away and encouraged people to be mindful.

“We’re still spreading and it’s still actively out there,” she said. “It’s concerning.”