Hamblen Health Department reports largest single day of testing

The Hamblen County Health Department recorded its largest number of testing Monday after several days of the number of COVID-19 cases spiking upward.

Sherrie Montgomery, director of the Hamblen County Health Department, said the health department recorded a total of 446 tests on Monday. Last Thursday, the health department recorded around 360 tests.

Montgomery said she’s not surprised by the amount of testing.

“It’s indicative now with the trends,” she said.

The amount of positive tests substantially increased over the weekend with the amount of active cases growing from 234 to 411 in a matter of five days.

On Tuesday, the number of active cases did dip back down to 385.

Over the last seven days, the county has recorded a positivity rate of 20.2%, state records show. The White House Coronavirus Task Force labels any county more than 10% positivity rate as being in the “red zone.” Hamblen County has been in the red zone since Nov. 8.

Montgomery pointed out that over the next two weeks there will be changes in testing because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Testing will not be conducted on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26 or the day after on Friday, Nov. 27, she said. The health department will also stop testing early at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Testing will not occur on Thursday while the health department conducts an all-day drive through vaccination event for the flu.

The Monday before Thanksgiving on Nov. 23, the health department will have extended testing hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The following Monday on Nov. 30 there will also be extended hours from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We’re catching it before Thanksgiving and after Thanksgiving,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said she sees the trends of the amount of active cases going up continuing.

“We’re testing so many people there’s a greater chance it will be positive,” she said.

She said she feels the people who are coming to get tested is a mix of people who may be having symptoms and those who may have been around someone who tested positive and want to make sure they are not positive.

The health department is currently operating two testing teams at the center.

The testing increase has led too many at the health department working more hours to keep up with the load, she said.

“We all feel overwhelmed at some points,” she said.

Besides the actual testing, there is a lot more involved including paperwork and data entry for all the tests conducted.

But, she is proud of how her staff has handled the situation.

“Everyone is working so hard, I’m proud of the work they have done,” she said.