Hamilton County sees largest single-day COVID-19 case increase

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Hamilton County saw its largest one-day surge in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, growing from 269 to 310. The number of deaths in Hamilton County due to the coronavirus remains 13, with the last death reported on April 18.

The total comes exactly two months after the county announced its first confirmed case and two weeks after businesses in Chattanooga began reopening. The previous largest single-day increase was 21 new cases on May 6. The county reported an additional 21-case increase on May 7.

With an incubation period of up to 14 days, COVID-19 cases reported since May 1 likely reflect infections transmitted up to two weeks ago. Therefore, the recent spike in cases is most likely due to infections spreading among essential workers who continued to work throughout the stay-at-home order, rather than new infections spread as a result of relaxed social distancing measures.

Case count increases are also a result of more community testing, which has ramped up in recent weeks as the county expanded drive-thru testing and added new testing sites.

A spokesperson for the Hamilton County Health Department said the department would not comment on the latest figures until a news conference on Thursday.

Contact Elizabeth Fite at efite@timesfreepress.com.

Contact Wyatt Massey at wmassey@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.