Hamblen Task Force discusses outreach to Hispanic community

Active cases of COVID-19 continue to trend down in Hamblen County with the state reporting a total of 62 cases on Wednesday, down from 100 just days ago.

The Hamblen County COVID-19 Task Force met Wednesday to discuss the trends.

“We’re still not where we want to be with the numbers,” said Chris Bell, Hamblen County Emergence Management Agency director.

Task force members have said they would like the cases to go down to as close to zero as possible. While task force members like the direction, they say it is still time to remain diligent and not become lax or the numbers could spike once more as cold and flu season approaches.

However, due to a change by the state in how numbers are recorded, it is difficult to compare today’s numbers to those announced in June, July or August.

Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare Services reported that the number of hospitalizations for the coronavirus have gone down.

Testing at the health department and other medical practices in Hamblen County have also decreased.

The lessening numbers come almost a month after Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain issued a mask mandate for Hamblen County.

State records show that over the last 14 days Hamblen County has averaged 6.4 new cases per day. The 14 days prior, the county averaged 13.1 cases per day.

Over the last seven days, Hamblen had a daily case rate of 6.6 cases per day per 100,000 people, records show.

In comparison, at the peak of the infections in August, the county recorded a 16.4% positivity rate.

There have been a total of 21 deaths from COVID-19 reported in Hamblen County, but none in the past several days.

Tony Cox, Morristown city manager, said he has heard from the Morristown Police Department that there are concerns that some big box stores in the city have started relaxing guidelines on requiring people to mask up.

Marshall Ramsey, president of the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce, said he has put in calls to managers of some of the stores to ask them if they would continue to enforce the mask mandate.

Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, also updated the task force on the first two days of school reopening. Schools reopened Tuesday for the first time since March.

He said everything has gone well with reopening with limited issues.

Perry said there had been one member of the East High School cheerleading squad test positive for COVID-19 and the squad has been isolated at this time. He said he believed the spread was just related to one student and not within the squad.