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Health Department confirms 13th coronavirus case in Knox County

Dr. Martha Buchanan said the number of cases are expected to rise as more testing becomes available in county, state.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Knox County Health Department said it confirmed a 13th case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, one more than the number of cases it reported the day before.

During a press conference, Dr. Martha Buchanan, the department director, said she expected the number of cases to continue to rise as more testing resources become available.

Also, new statewide case numbers will be released later Tuesday afternoon.

She said new laboratories have started testing for coronavirus, and that they may not be reporting through normal health channels yet.

Since healthcare providers also report directly to the county, the Health Department can have more information compared to the state. As a result, there can be differences in the number of cases between state and county data.

Testing can go on for weeks as the department combats the spread of coronavirus.

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Tuesday's press conference was held a day after the Health Department issued a "Safer at Home" order, which encourages people to stay at home as much as possible. It instructs non-essential businesses to close, a list of which can be found on the Health Department's website.

"We are relying on the common sense and goodwill of the community, and of the business community," Buchanan said.

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She emphasized that the order asks people to stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus — but it does not demand it. She said that if more stringent orders are made, they would be in concert with local and state governments.

Buchanan ended the press conference by saying that she anticipated around 80 percent of cases would have mild to moderate symptoms, based on information from other countries.

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