Red Zone

BEAN STATION – Grainger County reached a total of 204 reported COVID-19 cases after it was listed as a red zone county in a report filed by the White House Taskforce Report.

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reported a total of 94 active cases in the county, with a total of 110 recovered cases reported as of Tuesday, August 11. 

TDH said red zone counties have “reported both new cases more than 100 per 100,000 population and a diagnostic test positivity result more than 10 percent” in the last week. It said yellow zones report both new cases between 10 and 100 per 100,000 population and a diagnostic test positive result between five and 10 percent, or one of the two conditions and one red zone qualifier in the previous week.

White House Taskforce leader Dr. Deborah Birx, in a phone call with Center for Public Integrity said, “This outbreak is different than the March/April outbreak, and that is in both rural and urban areas.”

Birx said the taskforce has seen concerning movement of the virus in Tennessee. However, despite the increase of COVID-19 cases, Tennessee has moved from a red zone state to a yellow zone state. 

She said the White House Taskforce has issued a weekly report for the past six weeks to governors and health officials at the state and local levels. Every county and metro is identified in its COVID-19 yellow or red zone category in the report, along with mitigation recommendations at the State level.

She said states who acted earlier were beginning to see decreased cases, hospitalizations and mortality rates.

The taskforce has asked for States to reduce indoor dining, decrease capacity and increase social distancing, addressing the issue of large gatherings occurring in bars, and suggests working with community members to understand family gatherings could potentially create disease spread, said Birx.

“If you’re in a red or yellow county, bringing together family members will create potentially, particularly if indoors, super spreader events,” Birx said.

She said people often think family members could not have COVID-19, but should remember many cases are being spread asymptomatically. She said there could be individuals gathered at events which have COVID-19, but do not know it.

Birx said states should continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines.