Knox County update given on many aspects of COVID-19

The following is a Knox County Health Department COVID-19 update as authored by county official Mike Donila. A special thanks to Farragut Mayor Ron Williams in facilitating this message:

“… Like the rest of the state, Knox County remains under the Governor’s Stay at Home Order through April 14. Health officials will continue to monitor the local situation as well as actions taken at the state level and will make recommendations to our government leaders later in the week as needed.

“Officials continue to monitor predictive models. Some models indicate an improved scenario, it’s important to point out that the improvement relies on continued social distancing.

“The newly-formed Medical Surge and Alternate Care Task Force to expand hospital capacity and further plan for alternative care sites. The task force includes a representative from the area hospitals, KEMA, KCHD, as well as City and County officials.

“The KCHD phone bank received 156 calls Monday, April 6. The KCHD phone bank hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays and Sunday, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The KCHD phone bank will be closed on Sunday, April 12, in observance of (Easter).

“Health officials continue to do specimen collection for individuals who are pre-screened by KCHD by phone. If screening guidelines are met, an appointment time is made for specimen collection utilizing a drive-through format when that works for the client.

“Officials are coordinating with uninsured residents to assure testing is available when screening guidelines are met.

“Officials have entered into an agreement with State Health and State ECD to receive names and addresses for persons with positive COVID–19 testing. Addresses have been placed in the CAD system and for 30 days from the time an address is entered, first responders will be notified of the alert on the address.

“Food access: group feels confident in continuing to solve food access issues as long as they have PPE to protect staff and volunteers, funding to keep programs going, and support services that go beyond food access needs for the greater community.

“Senior Services: Mobile Meals currently is serving 1,300 individuals five meals each day, but the number continues to grow. CAC’s Office on Aging is supporting client needs as they come up and conducting wellness calls for clients of Mobile Meals. Knox County Senior Centers are providing support online and through phone calls. SCHAS S.O.S. is delivering groceries across the county.

“… An alternate care facility for people experiencing homelessness (The Guest House) who are awaiting COVID-19 test results was opened (Tuesday, April 7). (Knox County Health Departmetn) is working with the City of Knoxville and other community partners on this effort.

“… The Guest House is … being operated by Volunteer Ministry Center. The updated contact number is 865-221-5494. Knoxville Baptist Association is providing meals and a shower trailer. So far there have been nine admissions with two positive, five negative, one hospitalized and two leaving with location unknown. A total of seven guests. KCHD is coordinating with KARM to address a positive test in their population. The patient has been moved to the Guest House. Currently all staff and residents who had contact with the patient are following quarantine protocols and are asymptomatic. The City is not disrupting most encampments based on CDC and Health Department guidance.”