NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — After reaching a record high, Northeast Tennessee’s COVID-19 case rate continued to push further into record territory last week.
The seven-county region also surpassed 2,000 total deaths during the week and has maintained a significantly higher COVID death rate during the month of January than the state’s.
The seven-county region reported a record 8,626 new cases during the week of Jan. 16–22, an increase of nearly 25% from the week before, according to data released Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Health.
Greene County had the highest rate of new cases per 100,000 people.
After trailing the state for nearly a month, Northeast Tennessee’s community spread rate (seven-day new cases per 100,000 people) has caught up to the state’s as the omicron surge makes its way to more rural counties.
The TDH data show Northeast Tennessee case rates continuing to grow at a faster rate than the statewide average — a trend that’s been in place since the first week of January. Between Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, Northeast Tennessee’s community spread rate increased by 25% while Tennessee’s grew just 5%.
The region’s rate nearly doubled in the two weeks from Jan. 8 through Jan. 22, rising 84% from a base of 924. Tennessee’s rate of increase was just 25% during the same period.
The region’s active case count as of Saturday (14,244) was more than twice as high as the highest active case count reported during the delta surge (6,841).
Northeast Tennessee added a reported 46 additional COVID-19 deaths last week with the death toll standing at 2,020 as of Saturday.
The region’s seven-day COVID death rate through Saturday was 9.1 per 100,000 people, compared to 6.7 in Tennessee.
Through the month of January, the region has reported 133 new deaths, which is a population-adjusted rate of 26.3 per 100,000 population. The Tennessee rate this month is 18.6, while the U.S. rate stands at less than half of Northeast Tennessee’s — 12.1 deaths per 100,000. The national total for the first 22 days of the month was 39,770.
On the testing front, Northeast Tennessee’s percentage of total COVID tests that were positive for the virus stood at a record 43.9% on Saturday, just ahead of the statewide rate of 43.1%. A week earlier, the region’s rate was 37.0% and the state’s was 41.2%.
Greene County had the highest rate in the region at 46.7%, with Johnson County lowest at 36.4%.
As of today, 252,351 people, or about 49.9% of the total population, in Northeast Tennessee are fully vaccinated.
There were 852 new vaccinations over the past week, down 17% from the previous seven-day period and down 26% from about a month ago.