On Wednesday, August 19th, Becky Barnes, the Hamilton County Health Department Administrator related to the Hamilton County Commission that hospitalizations and Intensive Care Unit Cases attributed to COVID-19 “are clearly trending downward”.
On the same day, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman stated that “From July 8th forward, we have seen a significant decline in the number of cases in Hamilton County”.
However, the State of Tennessee has just issued new stricter quarantine guidelines for household contacts of a person who tests positive for the virus.
The household contact’s 14-day quarantine period will not begin until the person in the household that tested positive completes their minimum 10-day isolation.
In response to the guidelines issued by the State, the Hamilton County Health Department updated their own policy which means that household contacts will need to stay home for 24 days.
This extended period is justified by the Health Department by the statement that the virus could be incubating during this timeframe and that leaving home too soon could result in the spread of the virus.
The Hamilton County Health Department just added 83 new COVID-19 cases, along with 90 historical probable cases to the roster that significantly increased the Hamilton County’s numbers.
These new cases were added as a result of “Data Catch Up”. According to the Health Department, these cases were not previously counted.
The Hamilton County Health Department has been including probable cases in their daily case count since the end of June, meaning that not all the cases reported are confirmed by testing.
Probable and confirmed cases are treated equally in isolation and quarantine actions and contact tracing.
The CDC defines a probable case of COVID-19 as:
• A person meeting clinical criteria and epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19
• A person meeting presumptive laboratory evidence and either clinical criteria or epidemiologic evidence
• A person meeting vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19