LIVE: Knox County Health Department gives update on COVID-19 as case count continues to rise

The Knox County Health Department will provide updates and answer questions regarding the novel coronavirus today at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Knox County has detected a total of 4,242 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, up from 4,126 cases Sunday.

Active cases are at 2,256, up from 2,177 Sunday.

Health officials also noted said there are 131 probable cases of coronavirus being tracked.

Of the 4,242 cases detected over the course of the pandemic, 1,947 people, or 45.9%, have recovered.

Thirty-one Knox County residents were hospitalized with the virus Monday.

Another death related to COVID-19 was also reported Monday, bringing the total number of deaths in Knox County to 39.

The numbers of people listed under active, recovered, died and hospitalized do not equal the number of detected cases because a person could be counted in more than one category as they battled the disease, such as being hospitalized and recovering.

On Wednesday, the Knox County Board of Health passed a bar closure order, mandating that bars be shut down at 12:01 a.m. Monday. 

While the proposal was under discussion, Mayor Glenn Jacobs raised the question of whether scientists – or anyone else – had been able to nail down the specific transmission methods for COVID-19.

“Have you been able to isolate any of the specific variables through?” Jacobs, who voted against the closure, asked during the discussion. “Can we isolate what works and what doesn’t?”

In fact, the science isn’t settled because scientific studies take time to produce – often more time than it takes for a virus to become a pandemic.

But that doesn’t mean orders like mask mandates and bar closures aren’t based on science. Early data indicates that many states that reopened bars were facing COVID-19 spikes.

Two Knoxville plastic surgeons are suing the Knox County Board of Health, saying the board’s mask mandate put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 violates their rights under the state constitution.

Almost one-third of Knox County cases detected during the pandemic were identified in the past week — accounting for 1,018 of the county’s 3,533 cases. Twenty-two Knox County residents have died of COVID-19 in the past month, bringing the total number of deaths here to 27. 

The lawsuit, filed in Chancery Court last week by Steven Smith and Jason Hall, alleges the board relied on “faulty and misleading data” by using false positive tests to arrive at the mask mandate.

The case is ongoing.

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