Greene County had seven new cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday with active cases falling almost by the same number to 128.

The new cases bring the number of people who have contracted the virus in Greene County during the pandemic to 7,220, according to Friday’s update from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The 128 individuals with active cases of the illness are four fewer than Thursday, as 11 more people were added the inactive case designation for the county. Since the pandemic began, 6,950 people are now considered to have inactive cases by the state.

Greene County was one of six counties in Northeast Tennessee that had fewer than 10 new cases reported on Friday. According to the Department of Health, 145 new cases were reported for the 10-county region with Sullivan County having the most with 58. That county also has the most active cases with 350.

Friday’s numbers reflect a trend of declining numbers of new cases for the past several weeks across the region and the state. On Friday, there were 1,372 new cases reported in Tennessee and seven additional deaths, according to the Department of Health report. In the past year, 762,673 people have contracted COVID-19 in Tennessee and 11,064 have died.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 489,000 people have died across the nation from the virus.

NURSING HOME UPDATE

The Tennessee Department of Health updates its data on virus outbreaks in long-term care facilities on Fridays. The only local long-term care facility in the most recent update was Laughlin Healthcare Center. Three additional resident cases were reported for the nursing home during the past week by the state. It has been three days since the last positive test at the facility, according to the update.

During the outbreak at Laughlin Healthcare, 27 of the 55 residents have contracted the virus and five have died from the illness, according to the state data. Eleven employees have contracted the virus.

No new deaths or hospitalizations for Greene County were reported on Friday. Since the pandemic began, 142 people have died from the virus and 167 individuals have required hospital care to treat the virus.

Ballad Health reported Friday that it had 78 COVID-19 patients within its hospitals with 19 of those in intensive care units and 13 on ventilators.

Sixty-four people are currently being treated for the virus by the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home, according to data updated Friday on the Veterans Affairs website. The regional VA center has treated 2,593 people for COVID-19 in the past year with 2,377 of those considered convalescent cases. There have been 152 deaths among those treated at the VA.

The positive rate for the region for the past seven days stands at 14.2%, according to Ballad Health’s COVID-19 scorecard. The percentage of people who had positive results among all those tested are reflected in the rate and provide an indication of how prevalent the virus is in a community.

For Greene County, the rate is 5.7% for the past seven days, according to data from the state. That rate is close to the goal health officials say should be reached to indicate that the spread is coming under control.

VACCINE STATISTICS

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 14,460 virus doses, both first and second inoculations of the COVID-19 vaccine, have been administered in Greene County through Friday.

Across the state, 1.08 million vaccines have been administered in Tennessee, according to the Department of Health. The VA website indicates that 7,770 veterans have received their initial dose of the vaccine at the Quillen VA Medical Center, and 4,027 have received their second dose.

Those eligible for vaccinations currently in Greene County are individuals 70 years of age and over, frontline health care professionals at hospitals, health care staff in offices or other settings, and K-12 education and childcare providers. On Monday, individuals 65-69 years of age can begin registering for appointments to receive their first dose of the vaccine.

One local vaccination site is operated by the Health Department on the former Greene Valley Developmental Center campus on East Andrew Johnson Highway. Appointments are required to receive the vaccine at the site, according to the state.

Appointments for the Greene Valley vaccination site can be made online at covid19.tn.gov or by calling 866-442-5301.

Inoculations are also available at four independent local pharmacies designated as community vaccination sites by the state: Atchley’s Drug Center, Corley’s Pharmacy, Greene County Drug Store and Corley’s Pharmacy Solutions. Each has been provided limited supplies by the state, and information is available on the pharmacies’ websites and social media sites in regards to current availability.

Most people who contract COVID-19 will become only mildly or moderately ill, according to health experts. However, for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, it can cause serious illness and can be fatal.

COVID-19 tests are being administered by the Greene County Health Department 8:30-10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday at the office on West Church St. No appointment is necessary.

COVID-19 testing is also available from CVS and Ballad Health.

Free self-swab tests are now available at the CVS Pharmacy locations on the Asheville Highway and East Andrew Johnson Highway for those who meet Centers for Disease Control qualifications. An appointment is required and can be made at CVS.com.

Ballad Health asks anyone concerned they may have the virus to call the system’s Nurse Connect line at 833-822-5523 to be scheduled for testing at the individual’s nearest testing site. Tests may also be scheduled using the Ballad Health app or on its website. Testing is taking place at Greeneville Community Hospital West at 401 Takoma Ave.

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