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Positivity rate reaches the highest mark to date

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
On Friday, the Ballad Health System which covers 21 counties in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia reported its highest positivity rate to date in the fight against COVID-19 as the rate climbed to 33.7 percent.

With the rate climbing, health care professionals are begging for the public to help by doing their part by following the continuous recommendations of wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands on a regular basis.

“If you could stop just one case by wearing a mask or staying home when you didn’t need to go out, it would help us so much,” said Ballad Health nurse Emily who is an ICU RN nurse. “If everyone did that for one person, I think we could stop this.”

The health care system continues to encourage those who are experiencing symptoms or believe they might have been exposed to COVID-19 to schedule a test and stay home while awaiting test results.

Ballad reported that in the past seven days that there have been a total of 91 deaths reported as a result of COVID.

Currently, the hospital system has 346 patients in their hospital facilities with eight patients awaiting results for COVID testing. On Friday, there were 62 patient discharges while 59 new patients were admitted.

With the current log of patients, there are 49 beds that are available for new COVID admissions.

There are 67 patients who are in the intensive care unit with 39 on respirators.

Since reporting began on March 1, 2020, there have been a total of 70,852 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Ballad System’s coverage area along with 1,232 deaths.

Ballad also reported on Friday that there have been 15,225 individuals who have been administered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are 2,691 individuals who have been administered their second required dose of the vaccine.

On Friday, there were 40 new cases of COVID driving active cases to a total of 532.

Also, one more death was reported as the county now has seen 100 residents that have died as a result of COVID-19 since reporting began.

The health system reminds Tennessee residents of a tool available to see when one might be eligible to receive the vaccination as one may visit https://covid19.tn.gov.

Also, the system has begun to share tips to have a safe and happy new year in 2021.

The first tip is to stay connected virtually with family and friends via platforms such as Zoom which can bring a lot of comfort and fun while staying home which helps prevent the spread of COVID.