Offers School Reopening Guidance, Testing Resources
The Hamilton County Health Department reports 120 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, marking the first time the department has seen cases in the 120 range since March 19, 2021.
The number of Hamilton County residents hospitalized for COVID-19 also continues to rise. Last week, the average number of Hamilton County residents hospitalized each day was 10. This week, the daily average has increased to 31 Hamilton County residents hospitalized each day, highlighting a concerning trend.
“We are seeing a steady increase in COVID-19 cases throughout our county,” says Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes. “The most effective way to stop the spread is to get vaccinated now to prevent a surge of cases, hospitalizations, and COVID-related death as we head into the fall and winter months.”
On a positive note, the Health Department is pleased to note that the number of people seeking a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hamilton County has increased in the last few days.
“It is our hope that people are realizing the seriousness of this virus and making a decision to get vaccinated,” says Barnes.
To view the Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination event calendar, visit vaccine.hamiltontn.gov. Free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination events are offered at multiple locations. No appointment is necessary, and anyone 12 years of age and older is eligible.
School Reopening Guidance
In alliance with CDC guidelines, the Health Department recommends that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals continue to wear masks while inside, particularly in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained. This recommendation extends to the reopening of schools in Hamilton County.
“As schools start to plan for reopening this coming fall, the Health Department recognizes how important it is for schools to consider a safe return for their students and teachers, as well as the importance of in-person instruction,” says Health Department Interim Health Officer Dr. Fernando Urrego. “Assuring that students are able to attend school in-person is a top priority. In order for a safe return, Covid-19 prevention strategies are critical to protect individuals, especially in areas of high transmission levels.”
Given low vaccination rates and recent increases in COVID-19 cases, including in children, schools are encouraged to closely monitor community transmission levels for guidance of adding additional prevention strategies if needed. These measures are to protect those that have not been vaccinated, particularly children under 12 years of age that are not yet eligible to receive vaccine. The Health Department will continue to recommend schools follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated Covid-19 K-12 School Guidance Prevention Strategies.
COVID-19 Testing in Hamilton County
Please seek testing if you are experiencing the following symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Free testing is available at these partnering agencies:
LifeSpring Community Health drive-thru COVID-19 Testing
2507 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404
Mondays and Fridays from 11AM-1PM
Clínica Médicos drive-thru COVID-19 Testing
1148 E 23rd Street, Chattanooga, TN 37404
Monday – Saturday: 8AM-5PM
Appointments are optional. To make an appointment, call 423-206-4530.
For additional testing information, visit our website or call the COVID-19 hotline at 423-209-8383.
This press release is available in Spanish on the Health Department’s Spanish Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SaludHamiltonTN