NEW TRENDS REPORTED DURING THE HAMILTON CO. HEALTH DEPARTMENT BRIEFING

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF)- The Hamilton County Health Department is reporting 75 new coronavirus cases today.

Two more people have died – bringing the death total to 48 in the county.

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But health officials say there is some good news.

The number of Hispanics with the virus dropped to 35 percent, down from 69 before.

It’s also taking less time for people to get their COVID-19 test results back, with an average turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours.

Regional Director Becky Barnes encourages anyone with a positive result to wait three months to test again if they remain asymptomatic, “We also want to encourage employers to not request a negative return to work test except in very rare situations.”

Barnes says increases in cases are linked to large events such as graduations, weddings and funerals. Two of the three do not require masks.

“Weddings and funerals are often religious services, so the religious service is excluded from the mask mandate.”

Although masks are required during the planning and visitation process at funeral homes, Taylor Funeral Home Director and Pastor John Taylor Senior says the County government needs to crack down on funeral services as well.

“This virus does not recognize religious services. It does not recognize weddings. This is a safety issue” said Taylor.

There are still over 1 thousand active cases in Hamilton County.

With schools set to reopen, the Health Department will be testing at Orchard Knob Baptist Church this weekend.

Starting Monday morning, the new testing site will be at the Alsom plant off River Front parkway.