Hamilton County surpasses 1,000 cases of COVID-19 as pandemic spread continues

Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Clinician Amy Farlett Adjusts her PPE at a pop up test site being put on at the New Hope Baptist Church by Cempa Community care on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hamilton County now has more than 1,000 confirmed people with COVID-19, according to data released today by the Hamilton County Health Department.

On Sunday, the health department reported 84 new cases of the deadly virus, bringing the county's total to 1,083. The new number continues the now month-long case increase. On May 1, there were 163 confirmed people with COVID-19 in the county. In the past week, the county is averaging 63 new cases a day, nearly double what it was on May 23.

"We can't stress enough that this virus is very active in our community," health department administrator Becky Barnes said in a news release on Friday, emphasizing that people with any inkling they may be infected should isolate themselves and not go to work - where much of the transmission is taking place before being brought home to entire households.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger has yet to signal he will reinstate any of the "stay at home" orders that closed businesses in April. Experts who are modeling the virus said reclosing may not be necessary to stop the spread as long as super-spreading events, such as sporting events or concerts, do not happen. Other researchers said the economic protections for individuals and businesses are not there for a second shutdown.

As of Friday, the health department reported that 446 people have recovered from the virus and 29 people are currently hospitalized. In the past week, the county has seen its highest number of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. However, some of the people hospitalized are coming from surrounding counties. Updated information on the number of hospitalizations and people in the intensive care unit will be released Monday afternoon.


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