Sevier County continues to see rise in COVID-19 cases

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SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Sevier County reported 15 new COVID-19 cases Monday, continuing the spike that started last week. As tourist attractions begin to reopen, there has been more foot traffic in Sevier County.

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Leon Downey, the director of tourism for Pigeon Forge said the increase in guests started around Memorial Day. Since then, the number of cases has slowly been creeping up from zero to less than 10 new cases per day, to 19 or more cases each day last week.

Downey said Sevier County’s economy thrives on tourism, so guests are always welcome, but businesses want to make sure that employees and visitors are safe.

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Health officials are urging tourists to continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Even though businesses are reopening, the virus has not gone away.

“The CDC is still recommending following guidelines such as social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands, monitoring your health because coronavirus is still prevalent,” Lisa Kelley, a nurse and overseer of infection and prevention at LeConte Medical Center, said.

It is still unclear what the official cause of the spike is.

The state health department said in a statement:

We anticipated cases would go up once people started to get out more. We continue to encourage people to follow social distancing guidelines and get a COVID-19 test if you have any concerns about your health. Free testing is available at all state run county health departments.

Bill Christian, Office of Communication & Media Relations, Tennessee Department of Health

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