NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reported 14 new COVID deaths in Northeast Tennessee Tuesday, pushing the one-week death total to 39, its highest level since Oct. 13.

The area’s two most populous counties have the highest per capita COVID death rates among Tennessee’s counties with populations over 100,000, and Carter has the highest rate among counties with 50,000 or more people.

The region’s rolling seven-day new case rate per 100,000, the “community spread rate,” dropped slightly to 356 after reaching its highest level since Sept. 27 on Monday. The rate remains higher than any point since Oct. 3 barring Monday’s figure.

TDH reported 301 new cases in the seven-county region, including 107 in Washington County and 104 in Sullivan County.

Northeast Tennessee’s community spread rate is still much higher than Tennessee’s, which fell from 195 to 193, but the gap has narrowed slightly in the past several days. The U.S. rate is 247 according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The region also continues to have a significantly higher test positivity rate than the state. Northeast Tennessee’s positivity rate dropped slightly Tuesday to 15.7%, while Tennessee’s rate rose slightly to 9.3%.

The new COVID deaths reported included five in Sullivan County, four in Carter County, two in Washington County and one each in Hawkins, Johnson and Unicoi counties.

Carter County’s pandemic-long rate of deaths per 100,000 is now 415 — the 11th-highest of Tennessee’s 95 counties and the highest among any county with a population over 50,000.

Among Tennessee’s 13 counties with more than 100,000 people, Sullivan (295) and Washington (268) have the highest rates of COVID deaths per 100,000.

Ballad Health’s totals of COVID patients on ventilators and in intensive care units are at their highest levels since mid-October as well. Tuesday the hospital system reported 58 patients in ICU and 43 on ventilators.

Just three weeks ago, there were 36 patients in ICU and 24 on ventilators.

Vaccinations

Three area counties, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington County are the only ones in Northeast Tennessee with at least 50% of their population fully vaccinated. Overall, 48.1% of the seven-county region’s residents, or 243,038 people, are fully vaccinated, compared to 50.8% statewide.

The rate of Northeast Tennesseans with at least one dose of the vaccine is 52.7% and the state’s is 57.0%. The national rate is 71.2% according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

New cases and deaths

The total new cases Tuesday by county were: Carter +24, Greene +24, Hawkins +27, Johnson +9, Sullivan +104, Unicoi +6, Washington +107.

The region added 1,802 cases over the past seven days. That total was 1,385 over the previous seven days.

Area counties continue to have some of the state’s highest case rates, but some other counties are climbing. Washington County’s rate of 419 is the state’s fourth-highest. Sullivan, Johnson and Greene rank seventh through ninth highest, with Hawkins and Carter also both in the top 20 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

The region has now recorded 96,507 cases over the pandemic’s entirety.

The region’s 39 new reported COVID deaths the past seven days, compared to just 14 over the previous seven days. Northeast Tennessee’s total COVID death toll now stands at 1,605.

COVID 19 in Tennessee

TDH reported 2,051 new cases over the weekend, increasing the statewide total to 1,329,496 cases.

The health department also reported 163 new deaths Tuesday bringing the pandemic total to 17,650.

The state has 18,093 active cases, up 231 from Monday. Health officials have reported 1,293,753 recoveries total.

Northeast Tennessee
Total cases: 96,507 (301)
Inactive/recovered: 92,151 (272)
Deaths: 1,605 (14)
Active cases: 2,751 (15)

Carter County
Total cases: 11,085 (+24)
Inactive/recovered: 10,628 (+22)
Deaths: 234 (4)
Active cases: 223 (-2)

Greene County
Total cases: 14,537 (+24)
Inactive/recovered: 13,945 (+31)
Deaths: 248 (0)
Active cases: 344 (-7)

Hawkins County
Total cases: 10,969 (+27)
Inactive/recovered: 10,510 (+20)
Deaths: 186 (1)
Active cases: 273 (+6)

Johnson County
Total cases: 4,013 (+9)
Inactive/recovered: 3,862 (+16)
Deaths: 54 (1)
Active cases: 97 (-8)

Sullivan County
Total cases: 29,044 (+104)
Inactive/recovered: 27,603 (+110)
Deaths: 467 (+5)
Active cases: 974 (-11)

Unicoi County
Total cases: 3,282 (+6)
Inactive/recovered: 3,161 (+1)
Deaths: 69 (1)
Active cases: 52 (+4)

Washington County
Total cases: 23,579 (+107)
Inactive/recovered: 22,436 (+72)
Deaths: 347 (2)
Active cases: 796 (+33)