Greene County’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to rise with a total of seven reported by the state Wednesday.
And there may now be community spread of the coronavirus within upper East Tennessee, according to the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office.
“By possible community spread, we mean that we have cases now with no history of travel outside the region or exposure to a known case,” said Dr. David Kirschke, a physician in the regional office.
Two new cases were recorded in an update of statistics about the virus, also known as COVID-19, that is released each afternoon by the Tennessee Department of Health.
With the new cases, Greene and Washington counties have the most in Northeast Tennessee, both with seven. Hamblen and Sullivan counties each have two cases, and Cocke and Hawkins counties each have one.
According to the Northeast Regional Health Office, no one in Northeast Tennessee has been hospitalized due to COVID-19, but the office is investigating a case involving a person who is included in the statistics Wednesday for coronavirus and was in a hospital for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus.
On Tuesday, five cases in Greene County were reported by the state. Tusculum University also announced Tuesday that it had learned that five of its students had tested positive for the virus. The university has not released further statements about any new student confirmed cases.
It is not clear whether if the five Tusculum student cases accounted for all the cases reported by the state at that time.
Tusculum has closed its residence halls and is conducting classes online with non-essential staff working from home.
The university indicated that all the students who tested positive had not been on campus for several days, and initial reports were that all the students were doing well.
Statewide, the number of confirmed cases has increased by more than 100 since Tuesday. The state now has 784 cases of coronavirus confirmed, according to the state website.
Three people have died across the state from the virus, the state website indicates.
The number of people tested for the virus across Tennessee now totals 11,796. The Governor’s Office announced Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control has pledged $10 million for Tennessee’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and the state has purchased additional testing capacity and supplies with CDC guidance.
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 severe illness.
Ballad Health asks anyone concerned they may have the virus to call the system’s Nurse Connect line at (833) 822-5523 to be screened for possible testing. The line is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week.