Thursday brought another death and a double digit increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Greene County.

An additional death and 21 new cases for the county were reported for Greene County in the Tennessee Department of Health’s daily coronavirus update.

Eighteen people have died from the virus in Greene County, and a total of 878 cases of the illness have been reported locally, according to the state report.

On Thursday, the state made changes in how it is reporting data about those who have recovered from the illness and is also correcting discrepancies in county location for some cases.

Greene County has 140 active cases and has 720 of what is now defined by the state as inactive/recovered cases. Thursday’s totals from the state report reflect a decrease of 399 in active cases and an increase of 419 in recovery/inactive cases.

“Inactive/recovered” cases now “will include people who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date). This will more closely align with what is now understood about the infectious period of COVID-19, as recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days,” according to a release from the state Department of Health about the changes. Previously, the state Health Department considered a case recovered after a 21-day period.

According to a release from the Department of Health, the new changes reflect the evolving knowledge about the virus.

Thursday’s report also corrects county location in about 1,700 cases, as the county to which they were originally assigned does not correspond correctly to their street addresses. According to the state release, this can occur in laboratory reports because some lab systems automatically assign county location based on the patient’s ZIP code, which may be incorrect if the ZIP code straddles county lines.

These inaccuracies are being corrected all at once, which will result in case count changes for some counties. A solution is in place to automate this process in the future, according to the state.

Two more people in Greene County have been hospitalized with the virus, according to data from the state on Thursday. That brings the total of people locally who have required hospital care to 61.

The two local individuals are among 99 hospitalized with the illness in Ballad Health facilities, according to Thursday’s COVID-19 scorecard from the health system. Twelve people are hospitalized with symptoms of the coronavirus but are awaiting test results.

Nineteen people are in intensive care units being treated for the virus, according to Ballad Health. Thirteen of those are on ventilators.

The change in data presentation also caused some differences in totals for surrounding counties. Now, the county with the most active cases in the region is Sullivan County with 425. It was listed with 453 on Wednesday.

Washington County, which was listed with 906 active cases on Wednesday, was listed with 217 active cases on Thursday. Wednesday’s report had Carter County with 607 active cases. Thursday’s report reflected 145 in that county.

The local death was among the 18 new ones reported statewide in Thursday’s report. Since the pandemic began, 1,815 people have died from the coronavirus in Tennessee.

There were 1,715 new cases of the virus reported statewide, bringing the total to 159,546. Currently, there are 897 people hospitalized with the virus in the state, down 15 since yesterday.

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.

Tests are being administered at the Greene County Health Department from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday — Friday. No appointment is necessary, and those seeking to be tested are asked to use the Church Street entrance to the Health Department.

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. Testing is taking place at Greeneville Community Hospital East.

Those who need to speak to someone about mental and emotional challenges the coronavirus may be causing, can call Frontier Health’s 24-hour crisis line at 877-928-9062, Tennessee’s 24-hour crisis line at 855-274-7471, or the federal mental health services help line at 1-800-985-5990.

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