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No red lights reported in Knox County’s COVID-19 benchmarks

Knox County Health Department officials said the trend lines show COVID-19 improvement.
Knox County Board of Health meets to discuss mask mandate, bar curfew
Knox County Board of Health meets to discuss mask mandate, bar curfew(WVLT News)
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:40 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Doctor Martha Buchanan presented the newest COVID-19 benchmark data during a Wednesday night Board of Health meeting.

1: Sustained reduction or stability in new cases for 14 days. Yellow

Dr. Buchanan said the county is starting to see downward trends of active COVID-19 cases. Just 55 new cases were reported on Wednesday.

2: Community-wide sustained and increased diagnostic testing with consistent or decreased test result reporting turnaround time: Yellow

Dr. Buchanan said turnaround times for test results are sitting at about two days. Although she said two days of yellow flags were reported, they were not consecutive. The number of tests conducted is trending upward with an average of 562 tests per day. The testing positivity rate is about 8%.

Dr. Buchanan also mentioned concerns that individuals may not be getting tested.

“We do have concerns that people are not seeking testing because they do not want to be put in isolation and we are very concerned about that,” she said.

3: Sustained or increased public health capability: Green

Dr. Buchanan said 12 new team members have be added to the contact tracing staff.

4: Health care system capabilities remain within current and forecasted surge capacity: Yellow

Local hospitals did not report any red flags. The remain within the threshold for surge capacity.

5: Sustained or decreased COVID-19 related death rate for identified positive or probable cases: Yellow

Nine people died from COVID-19 in Knox County over the past two weeks.

Several members of the board said they had been told by multiple citizens that parents were avoiding getting their children tested for COVID-19 to avoid having to keep them home from school. Similar reports were made in connection to students at the University of Tennessee. KCHD said it remains unclear if the recent improvement in COVID-19 data is due to a real decrease in cases.

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