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Knox County hits three red lights, two yellow on COVID-19 benchmarks as cases surge

The Knox County Health Department said all benchmarks for COVID-19 progress have moved out of the green zone.
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 1:59 PM EDT|Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 11:09 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Health Department said all benchmarks for COVID-19 progress have moved out of the green zone.

The first benchmark requires sustained reduction or stability in new cases for 14 days. Knox County received a red light after a record-breaking increase in cases and deaths over the last eight days.

The second benchmark requires community sustained and increased diagnostic testing with consistent or decreased test result reporting turnaround time. This benchmark was changed from yellow to red. Health officials said the red benchmark means there was a three-day negative shift that detected testing turnaround time exceeded weekly average report time.

The third benchmark measures sustained or increased public health capability. KCHD said on Tuesday they had accepted help from the state of Tennessee for contact tracing and making the large number of daily calls now required as positive cases increase. This metric is now represented as yellow.

Knox County hit a yellow light for the fourth benchmark that requires health care system capabilities to remain within the current and forecasted surge capacity. Hospitalizations connected to COVID-19 have increased over the past week with 78 current hospitalizations reported on Wednesday.

The fifth benchmark requires sustained or decreased COVID-19 related death rate for identified positive or probable cases. Health officials reported more deaths due to COVID-19 so far in November than October’s total death toll. This week, officials reported the largest one-day case and death increase due to COVID-19 causing the benchmark to be represented as red.

Knox County currently has 16,388 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 2,270 active cases, 140 deaths and 540 hospitalizations.

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