Record 106 new COVID-19 cases reported in Hamilton County; free testing available over the weekend

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Michael Scott, a cook at Chattanooga Smokehouse on Martin Luther King Boulevard, pulls his mask off his face as he talks on the phone during a break on Thursday, May 28, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Studies have shown preventing the spread of COVID-19 is significantly more effective when masks are worn by everyone who goes out into public areas.

The Hamilton County Health Department reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 Friday - the most new cases ever reported on a single day in the county - for a cumulative total of 1,381 cases. Of those cases, 569 are recovered and 793 are active.

Hospitalizations and deaths in the county remained stable Friday, with 34 COVID-19 patients total hospitalized, according to health department data. Thirteen of those patients were in intensive care. Nineteen residents have died due to the coronavirus.

While new cases indicate the virus is spreading, they are also the result of expanded testing in the county.

The health department updates testing data on its website sporadically. However, officials said in a news release Friday that between Monday (June 1) and Friday (June 5) the department conducted a combined 1,744 COVID-19 tests at its school testing sites - 891 tests at Brainerd High School and 853 at Orchard Knob Elementary.

These tests are in addition to other testing efforts going on in the county and through private providers.

Health department officials said in a news release Friday that while the majority of people are compliant with isolation and quarantine instructions, there is an increasing number of people who are not staying home and not being cooperative.

"This behavior puts the general public at even more risk of exposure," the release stated. "People are asked to stay home and away from others to prevent the spread of the virus."

Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes said in the release that contact tracers "work hard every day to serve the public and prevent the spread of disease."

"Please work with them when they call you. Please stay home when they ask. Contact tracing is one of the only tools we have to help prevent the spread of the disease. Your compliance will help save lives," Barnes said.

"Just because a business is open, doesn't mean it is the best choice for your family to visit," the release stated.

Testing will continue this weekend at Brainerd High School. The testing is free, with no symptoms necessary and no referral needed. Walk-up and drive-up tests are available.

Visit the health department's website for a list of testing events and sites. Anyone with COVID-19 questions may call the health department's hotline at 423-209-8383.

Contact Elizabeth Fite at