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After exposures at counties' commission meetings, KCHD says stay home until results return

The Knox Co. Health Department now said anyone who gets tested should isolate until they get their results back, no matter their symptoms.

TENNESSEE, USA — It was the same scenario in two east Tennessee counties, 50 miles apart: someone at the county commission meeting may have exposed others to the coronavirus.

In Hamblen County, County Mayor Bill Brittain told 10News someone on his staff tested positive last week. He said she had symptoms for a few days but came back to work while waiting for her test results.

At Thursday's meeting, Brittain said, she sat in the back with a mask on, but the next day, got positive COVID-19 test results. 

She is now isolating at home for 10 days from the date of her test. 

Brittain said he notified one person of possible exposure during the meeting. 

In Anderson County, Clinton commissioner Robert Jameson tested positive. 

He said he wasn't feeling well and now has a fever. He still went to the commission meeting last week. 

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The next day, the 82-year-old's results came back positive too. 

Handouts from the Tennessee Department of Health say if you have any symptoms or exposure to COVID-19, you must isolate while waiting for test results. 

Knox County goes further. The county health department director said anyone who gets a test must stay home until results come in. 

"Regardless of your symptoms if you get tested for COVID-19, we want you to stay home. We know there is asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic spread," Dr. Martha Buchanan said. "If you're concerned enough that you might have COVID-19 that you get tested, we want you to stay home until you get that test result back."

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She added if you have exposure or symptoms, a negative test is not enough to clear you for school, work or to leave quarantine. 

"You can't test your way out of quarantine," she said. "Meaning even if you get tested and your test comes back negative during that 14-day period you don't get to get out of quarantine."