DeKalb County among emerging hotspots for COVID-19 on DHS list


DEKALB COUNTY, Tenn., (WKRN) — DeKalb County was included on a “daily hotspot triage” report distributed by the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by ABC News. It identified 98 emerging hot spots in 30 states and 21 of these were considered “new emerging hot spots.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 269 total COVID-19 cases in DeKalb County. Two weeks ago, the county only had 119 cases, which is a 126% increase during that time period.

The county of roughly 20,000 people has 159 active cases, according to the state, and one person has died.

The county and others in the region have been a focus of the White House Coronavirus Task Force this week.

“We’re starting to see in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, that inkling of a percent increase of cases that are positive. So, you know, if so, did you see the percent of the total number of tests that you do are positive and it increases, that’s a warning sign that you might be seeing a surge,” said Dr. Fauci.

Hardin, Haywood, and Jefferson County were other parts of Tennessee now on the same list.

With Tennessee in the national spotlight for rising cases, Governor Lee was asked this week about a statewide mask mandate.

“I believe anything done closest to the people is most effective, when it’s possible we ought to make decisions locally that affect local citizens, I think people have trust in their local elected officials,” Lee said.

The Tennessee Department of Health released the following statement in response to a News 2 inquiry about the list of emerging hotspots:

There is no strict criteria of what defines a “hot spot” for the state, other than a general uptick in disease transmission. State and local public health officials closely monitor these trends in their communities and statewide. Every COVID-19 case is investigated and contacts informed of their possible exposures. If there’s an outbreak in a high-risk setting, public health officials often provide additional education and guidance around preventing further disease transmission. If specific populations within a community are determined to be at risk, then targeted messaging and outreach is conducted with those groups.

The Governor’s Unified Command Group has undertaken a multi-pronged approach when responding to recent coronavirus hotspots. Actions include increased public messaging, outreach, and coordination with the local community and unique population groups and increasing testing access and availability. When hotspots occur in the state, the Unified Command Group will continue to use these effective practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public’s health. The hotspots should be a reminder that Tennesseans need to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing a mask when in public, observing proper distances between individuals in social settings, washing hands frequently, and minimizing trips and contact with other people, in general.

Shelley Walker | Director
Office of Communication & Media Relations

COVID-19 in Tennessee

(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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