Local health official says recent surge in COVID-19 cases was expected

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A local health official says the recent surge in COVID-19 cases was expected.

Dr. David Kirschke with the Northeast Regional Health Office said Thursday that the increase in cases in the Tri-Cities area and across the state was an expected result of reopening.

“We are starting to see the surge in cases in NE TN and the rest of the state we expected associated with reopening,” Kirschke said in an email to News Channel 11. “Cases are [primarily] related to community spread or travel to hotspots within TN and out of state.”

The Tennessee Department of Health reported 21 new cases in Northeast Tennessee on Thursday, the largest increase since June 1 when 39 new cases were reported largely due to employees at a local farm testing positive.

On Friday, Tennessee logged a record-high 1,188 new cases across the state.

“We encourage everyone to follow the social distancing measures outlines in the state’s reopening guidance, including wearing cloth face coverings in public,” Kirschke said.

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