New COVID-19 cases declined for the fourth consecutive week across the region, which finally saw its testing positivity average dip below the 5% target.
Ten Northeast Tennessee counties reported 122 new cases during the past week while there were 81 new cases in 10 counties and two cities of far Southwest Virginia, according to each state’s health department.
That represents a 27% decline over the previous week’s 279 new case total.
Additionally this week, the region’s combined seven-day COVID testing positivity average was 4.4%, according to Ballad Health System. Health officials have repeatedly said community spread is expected to slow significantly once the testing average falls below 5% and remains in that range. It hovered in the 6-8% range for much of May after being in the 13-15% range during the April spring surge.
On Friday, only Carter and Sullivan counties in Tennessee reported testing rates exceeding the 5% threshold, at 5.3% and 5.1%, respectively, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Washington County, Tennessee, was 3.8% while Hawkins County, which recently experienced a modest surge of cases, was at 4.9%. Rural Hancock County was at 0%.
Sullivan County reported 44 new cases in the past week, Washington 29 and Hawkins had 17. Three counties had one new case for the week and Hamblen County reported no new cases in the past week.
There are less than 350 active cases across 10 Northeast Tennessee counties, led by Sullivan with 138, Hawkins with 63 and Washington had 54. Just one month ago, there were more than 1,100 active cases.
Virginia does not report active cases.
Sullivan added an average of 11.9 new cases per day over the past 14 days, roughly half its 23.6 daily average reported during the previous two weeks. Most neighboring counties showed similar declines, according to the state health department.
Washington County, Tennessee’s daily average fell from 13.7 to 7.4 new cases per day, Hawkins saw its rate drop from 12.9 to 5.5 and Carter went from 4.9 new cases per day to 2.2, over the past two weeks.
In Virginia, the Mount Rogers Health District was at 6% on Friday and the Cumberland Plateau district counties were at 5.3%. LENOWISCO’s rate was 1.8%. The Virginia statewide average was 2.6%.
Only four localities reported double figure new case totals paced by Buchanan County with 17, Washington County with 13, the city of Bristol and Tazewell County reported 12 apiece. Lee and Smyth counties and the city of Norton reported no new cases during the past seven days.
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