The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in the region continued to rise over the weekend, surpassing the peak reached on Friday, according to Tennessee Department of Health data.

The peak Friday of 33.7% meant that more than 1 in 3 people tested for the virus over the previous seven days tested positive. The positivity rate continued to rise to 34.6% on Saturday, and on Sunday it stood at 35.3%.

The positivity rate in the region remains higher than the statewide rate, which stood at 16.31% on Sunday.

The weekend brought one new COVID-19 death and 133 new cases of the virus in Greene County, with 61 reported Saturday and 72 on Sunday by the Tennessee Department of Health. The death, reported Saturday, brought the total number of Greene County residents to die because of the virus to 103.

Sullivan County saw an increase of 209 new cases over the weekend, with 136 reported Saturday and 73 on Sunday, according to the state. The state also reported two deaths for Sullivan County on Sunday, bringing the total number of people there to have died of the virus to 200. Washington County saw an increase over the weekend of 174 new cases and four deaths, and in Hawkins County, 99 new cases reported on Sunday brought the number of active cases there to 701.

Statewide the Health Department reported increases of 5,844 new cases on Saturday and 7,419 on Sunday, for a total increase over the weekend of 13,263 new cases. The Health Department also reported 167 deaths over the weekend, with 86 recorded Saturday and 81 on Sunday.

Since the pandemic began, 6,294 cases have been identified in Greene County, with 884 of those active at the time of Sunday’s update from the state. The number of inactive recovered cases, which means 14 days have passed since the onset of symptoms or positive test, if asymptomatic, stood at 5,307 Sunday.

In total, 150 Greene County residents have required hospital care due to the virus, and that number has remained steady since Friday.

There were 337 COVID-19 patients in Ballad Health hospitals being treated for the virus as of Sunday, according to the day’s COVID-19 Scorecard from the hospital system. Two people were admitted with virus symptoms but had not yet received test results.

Sixty-two patients were in intensive care units on Sunday, with 38 of those on ventilators.

There were 65 beds designated for COVID-19 patients available on Sunday.

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.

Vaccine distribution continues for those eligible, including people over 75 years of age, who can register for an appointment to be vaccinated by calling the Greene County Health Department at 798-1749 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

All Tennesseeans can check when they will be eligible for the vaccine at https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/.

Free COVID-19 tests are also administered by the Greene County Health Department at the former Greene Valley Developmental Center site on East Andrew Johnson Highway, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary to be tested.

Self-testing kits are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to adults with results available online. Testing will be available for those under age 18 and adults who are not able to register online may receive the standard nasal swab tests on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Free self-swab tests are also available at the CVS Pharmacy location on the Asheville Highway for those who meet Centers for Disease Control qualifications. An appointment, which can be made at CVS.com, is required.

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.

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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