Percent of positive cases continues to decline in northeast Tennessee

Local Coronavirus Coverage

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) – This week returned fewer positive COVID-19 tests in northeast Tennessee counties as the number of tests continues to rise, according to data from the state health department.

From last Friday (May 8), the percent of positive COVID-19 tests relative to the total number of tests performed went from 2.71 percent to 2.085 percent. Data in individual counties either dropped or remained stable throughout the week.

CountyPercent positive May 8Percent positive May 15
Greene County3.94%3.04%
Hawkins County2.92%2.61%
Sullivan County2.53%2.07%
Washington County2.72%2.53%
Carter County1.98%1.70%
Johnson County3.70%0.82%
Unicoi County0.61%0.81%
This table shows the percent of COVID-19 tests that were positive on May 8 and May 15, respectively.

The percent of positive COVID-19 cases is one of the metrics that state officials point to when making decisions about reopening the economy. Last week, we reported that data in our region indicated that number was falling. This week, it continued a downward slope, according to the data.

This chart shows the percent of COVID-19 tests that were positive from April 12 to May 15.

Health officials cautioned that new COVID-19 cases are expected as businesses reopen and the state ramps up testing efforts. In northeast Tennessee counties, there have been 3,709 tests performed in the past week.

Read more: Tennessee to lift capacity restrictions on retail and restaurants, allow large attractions to open

Testing also continues to rise throughout the state. In our region, reported COVID-19 tests rose from 7,866 on May 8 to 11,439 tests on May 15.

This chart shows the number of tests administered in our region from April 12 to May 15.

The state reported 28 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, meaning that 0.75 percent of the tests administered in the past week were positive.

This table shows the number of COVID-19 cases reported by the state in northeast Tennessee Counties from May 8-15.

Johnson County reported the largest jump in tests and positive COVID-19 cases this week. Positive cases jumped from five to 15 in the past week, while testing went from 135 to 1,837.

The state followed through on testing prison populations this week, and Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City returned six positive tests from inmates this week.

Read more: Six inmates at Northeast Correctional tested positive for COVID-19

Even though the county reported 10 more COVID-19 cases this week, the percent of positive cases dropped from 3.70 percent to 0.82 percent because of the high number of tests administered within the county.

On Friday, the Virginia Department of Health began reporting the number of tests performed by each health district. Counties in three separate districts are in our coverage area – Lenowisco, Cumberland Plateau and Mount Rogers.

Cumberland Plateau Health District

  • Buchanan County
  • Dickenson County
  • Russell County
  • Tazewell County

Lewinowsco Health District

  • Lee County
  • Scott County
  • Wise County
  • Norton

Mount Rogers Health District

  • Bland County
  • Carroll County
  • Grayson County
  • Smyth County
  • Washington County (including Bristol)
  • Wythe County

Taking the total number of reported COVID-19 cases in each district and the total number of tests in each district, the percent of positive COVID-19 tests on Friday are:

  • Cumberland Plateau Health District – 2.23%
  • Lenowisco Health District – 3.23%
  • Mount Rogers Health District – 6.23%


Based on data provided by the Tennessee Health Department, 31 local people are known to have an active COVID-19 infection.

Out of the 238 reported cases in the region so far, 200 are reported as “recovered” by the state, and seven of those cases resulted in the death of a patient.

This graph shows the number of COVID-19 cases seaparated by current infections (yellow), recoveries (green) and deaths (red) as of Friday, May 15 2020.

Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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