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KCHD: Knox County flagged by CDC and feds as a COVID-19 hot spot

The Knox Co. Health Dept. said officials with the CDC and U.S. Dept. of Health came to the area this week to discuss plans and concerns with them.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — The Centers for Disease Control and public health emergency officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services departed Knox County Friday morning after offering guidance and support to county health leaders to curb the rapid growth in COVID-19 cases.

According to the Knox County Health Department, a federal response team of officials with the CDC and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response raised the red flag and have declared Knox County a hot spot for the virus. The two agencies came to offer assistance Wednesday and Thursday as the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to surge to higher levels locally.

Credit: WBIR
Active COVID-19 case chart as of July 9 in Knox Co.

KCHD said it was notified Tuesday by the federal agencies that Knox County has been specifically identified along with several other areas in the U.S. as national hot spots. Knox County was one of 14 places in the U.S. the CDC and ASPR visited in the past two weeks.

According to recent CDC reports obtained by Yahoo News, the CDC, FEMA and other federal agencies are becoming more actively involved in the pandemic response as numerous areas in the U.S. draw concern due to a high and growing disease burden.

In the last month alone, Knox County cases of COVID-19 have nearly tripled. Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have noticed concerning trends locally, saying action needs to be taken sooner rather than later.

KCHD urged people Friday COVID-19 "is more in our community than it has ever been," saying people need to look out for their neighbors by wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene and hand washing, and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others. 

"We have the power to reduce that spread," KCHD Regional Hospital Coordinator Charity Menefee said. "If we want to continue to move forward, we need to continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of the disease."

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