Hamblen County Task Force discusses Hispanic outreach efforts

The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center has labeled Hamblen County as a “red zone” as the number of deaths continue to incline within the county.

The number of total deaths in Hamblen County as of Sunday was 48, an increase of 23 in a month.

According to state records, the county had recorded 25 deaths from COVID-19 on Sept. 25, growing to 48 by Sunday.

“It just confirms that COVID is a serious disease,” said Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain, chairman of the county’s COVID-19 Task Force.

Learning that the county had entered into a red zone, Morristown Mayor Gary Chesney posted on social media over the weekend about the newest designation.

Recent numbers of active cases in Hamblen County have steadily been more than 200 daily after a low of almost 50 active cases at the end of August.

At the end of July, a White House Coronavirus Task Force, along with state officials, had listed Hamblen County as a red zone as the number of active cases began mounting.

The situation led Brittain to mandate mask usage at the start of August, which led to a decrease in numbers that was furthered by a change in the way active cases were counted by the state.

As schools reopened, the number of cases have slowly started drifting back upward once again.

Brittain said as the number of cases continue to trend upward it is also important for people to continue to support nurses and doctors on the front lines who are battling the outbreaks.

With the number of hospitalizations going up, that puts them at a greater risk of being in harm’s way and catching it themselves, he said.

He also said it also means that everyone needs to do their part to try and slow the virus as much as possible. Many of those who are dying are the elderly.

“We have to protect those people,” he said. “They are the most susceptible.”