September second-worst month for new COVID-19 cases in NE Tennessee

Local Coronavirus Coverage

(WJHL) — September was the second-worst month for COVID-19 infections in Northeast Tennessee.

There were 13,699 new cases reported in the region last month, according to Tennessee Department of Health data. Only December 2020 had more with 14,980 cases.

During the winter surge, the most cases reported in a single day was 778 on Dec. 13. Last month saw three days with more cases than that, including 1,263 new cases reported on Sept. 10 which was followed by 834 new cases reported the following day.

The Delta variant’s impact can be seen in the month-by-month statistics. In July, Northeast Tennessee saw just 1,623 new cases. In August, there were 11,848 new cases, a 630% increase. 

September also had the second-highest number of cases among school-aged children. There were 3,070 COVID-19 cases reported among 5–18-year-olds, a 20% decrease from August’s record-high 3,867 cases.

Last month also tied with November for the third-deadliest month since the pandemic began with 176 new fatalities reported. The most deaths came in January when 231 were reported.

As September drew to a close, Tennessee surpassed 15,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Coronavirus hospitalizations reached record levels across the region in September. COVID-19 inpatients at Ballad Health’s facilities, including those in Virginia, peaked with 413 patients reported on Sept. 8. For comparison, hospitalizations during the winter surge peaked at 361 in early January. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Tennessee soared to a record-high of 3,831 on Sept. 9, surpassing the winter surge’s peak of 3,351 hospitalizations reported on Jan. 7.

Now, Northeast Tennessee enters October with declining trends in new cases and hospitalizations. It also appears that deaths may be leveling off.

As of Friday, just under 45% of Northeast Tennesseans were fully vaccinated for COVID-19, below the national average of 56%.

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