A third person has died in Greene County from the coronavirus, according to Friday’s report from the Tennessee Department of Health.
The death comes as the state reported its largest one-day increase in virus cases.
The first COVID-19 related death in Greene County was reported in April with the second later that month.
The county’s active cases have increased to 12, with a total of 68 cases in Greene since the pandemic began, according to the state Health Department. The number is up two from Thursday’s total.
Fifty-three people have recovered from the coronavirus in Greene County, according to the report.
With the increase in cases, the best practice is for everyone to wear masks when they are indoors at public places, said Dr. Theo Hensley, a physician with Greeneville Internal Medicine and Family Practice.
Updated recommendations for limiting the spread of the virus for both individuals and businesses can be found on the covidfreegreene.com website, Hensley noted. The site is the work of a group of local medical and business professionals with a goal to share best practices with the community.
Statewide, Friday’s report included 1,410 new cases of the virus. That tops the one-day high total of nearly 1,200 new confirmed cases last Friday.
The previous high came in May, when a slew of results came in from prisoners at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, where nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 workers have tested positive.
The new numbers bring the total to 39,444 confirmed cases in Tennessee since the pandemic started.
The death in Greene County was one of 10 new deaths reported by the state on Friday. The number of people confirmed to have died from the virus in the state stood at 577 on Friday.
The number of people who have recovered from the virus is 25,753 statewide, according to the report.
Coronavirus cases also continue to increase in the region. According to the Department of Health report, Hamblen had eight new cases on Friday. Carter, Cocke and Washington counties each had six new cases, Hawkins had three and Sullivan had two.
The county with the most active cases is Hamblen with 64. Washington County has 21, Carter has 20, Cocke has 13, Hawkins has 10 and Sullivan has eight.
Officials have cautioned about traveling to tourist destination communities. Sevier County currently has 214 active cases.
Among the larger metropolitan areas in Tennessee, Knox County has the lowest number of total cases with 824 since the pandemic began, and 275 people currently have the virus.
While national data was not available for Friday, the number of confirmed coronavirus infections per day in the U.S. surged to an all-time high of 40,000 on Thursday.
The count of new confirmed infections, provided by Johns Hopkins University, eclipsed the previous high of 36,400, set on April 24, during one of the deadliest stretches. Newly reported cases per day have risen on average about 60 percent over the past two weeks, according to an Associated Press analysis.
While the rise partly reflects expanded testing, experts say there is ample evidence the scourge is making a comeback, including rising deaths and hospitalizations in parts of the country and higher percentages of tests coming back positive for the virus.
Deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S. are running at about 600 per day, down from a peak of around 2,200 in mid-April. Some experts have expressed doubt that deaths will return to that level, because of advances in treatment and prevention and because younger adults are more likely than older ones to survive.
The virus is blamed for 124,000 deaths in the U.S. and 2.4 million confirmed infections nationwide, by Johns Hopkins’ count. But U.S. health officials believe the true number of infections is about 10 times higher. Worldwide, the virus has claimed close to a half-million lives, according to Johns Hopkins.
The surge in new cases has forced some states to halt their reopening plans.
Texas and Florida reversed course and clamped down on bars again Friday as health experts have said a disturbingly large number of cases are being seen among young people who are going out again, often without wearing masks or observing other social-distancing rules.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all bars closed, while Florida banned alcohol at all such establishments. The two states joined the small but growing list of those that are either backtracking or putting any further reopenings of their economies on hold because of a comeback by the virus, mostly in the South and West.
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. to noon Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary, but it is recommended that people call 423-979-4689 and register to speed up the testing process on site.
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 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.