Vaccine Line

Cars are lined up recently at the COVID-19 vaccination site being operated by the state at the former Greene Valley Development Center.

Nine new COVID-19 cases were reported for Greene County on Monday, continuing a downward trend that began about a month ago.

The nine new cases bring the total number of Greene Countians who have contracted the virus during the pandemic to 7,186, according to Monday’s update of COVID-19 data by the Tennessee Department of Health.

The county has 151 individuals with active cases of the virus, according to Monday’s report from the state.

Greene County’s new cases were among the 136 additional virus cases reported for the 10 counties in Northeast Tennessee on Monday. Sullivan, Hamblen and Cocke counties had the most new cases — ranging from 42 to 24 — with the remaining seven counties having 10 or fewer. Sullivan County has the most active cases with 384.

A month ago, there were 504 new cases reported for those same 10 counties, and 741 new cases were recorded on Dec. 15 during the holiday surge in Northeast Tennessee.

Statewide on Monday, 1,143 new COVID-19 cases were reported and four new deaths recorded. Since last March, 758,561 people in Tennessee have contracted the virus and 10,937 have died.

No new deaths or hospitalizations for Greene County were recorded in Monday’s Department of Health update. Since last March, 140 people have died locally from the virus and 166 have required hospitalization to treat the illness.

Ballad Health reported on Monday that it had 97 COVID-19 patients within its facilities with 18 of those in intensive care units. Ten of those in ICU were on ventilators. The health system reported it had 59 designated COVID-19 patient beds available.

The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center in Johnson City is treating 83 people with active cases of the virus, according to the VA website on Monday. Since last March, the regional VA Center has treated 2,567 people for the virus, and 2,332 of those cases are now considered convalescent. During the pandemic, 152 people have died who have received treatment at the VA center.

The positive rate for the past seven days in the region was 14.5%, according to Ballad Health’s COVID-19 scorecard. The positive rate reflects how many positive results were returned among all the virus tests conducted in the past seven days. It is also a measure of how widespread COVID-19 is in an area. For Greene County, the positive rate for the past seven days was 10.5%, according to data from the Health Department.

VACCINE TOTALS REPORTED

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 12,965 inoculations of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Greene County through Monday. The county has administered the third highest number of vaccines in Northeast Tennessee behind Sullivan and Washington counties. None of the remaining seven counties have reached the 10,000-mark, according to the state data.

Across the state, 1.02 million vaccines have been administered in Tennessee, according to the Department of Health. The VA website indicates that 7,137 veterans have received their initial dose of the vaccine at the Quillen VA Medical Center and 2,638 have received their second dose.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be available locally. One 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.

Those eligible for vaccinations currently in Greene County are individuals 70 years of age and over, frontline healthcare professionals at hospitals, health care staff in offices or other settings, and K-12 education and childcare providers. The inoculations are to be administered in phases by risk group and age group, according to the state’s vaccination distribution plan.

Appointments for the Greene Valley vaccination site can be made online at covid19.tn.gov or by calling 866-442-5301 to request an appointment. People are encouraged to arrive at the site at their appointment time, but not prior to gates opening at 8:30 a.m. due to traffic safety concerns.

Inoculations are also available at four independent local pharmacies designated as community vaccination sites by the state — Atchley’s Pharmacy, 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. The Greeneville Walmart store is also to receive allocations in the future through this program.

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.

VIRUS TESTING

COVID-19 tests are being administered by the Greene County Health Department from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday at the office on West Church Street. No appointment is necessary. Self-test kits are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the site with the nasal swab tests administered on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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. The line is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 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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