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Four new COVID cases in Hawkins, Sullivan in a week, 524 negative tests

Jeff Bobo • Apr 24, 2020 at 8:00 AM

CHURCH HILL — After a week of free COVID-19 testing across the region, there have been only a handful of new positive cases in Hawkins and Sullivan counties, but the number of negative test results is skyrocketing.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, over the past week Sullivan and Hawkins counties gained only two new positive cases each while the combined number of negative cases for both counties increased by 524.

Meanwhile, Washington County had zero new COVID-19 cases over the past week, but added 414 negative tests.

The Northeast Regional Health Office and the Health Departments in Greene and Hawkins counties are hosting two more free COVID-19 drive-thru testing events on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday's event will be held at the Greene County Fairgrounds, 123 Fairgrounds Circle, Greeneville, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Hawkins County event will be held on Sunday at Volunteer High School, 1050 Volunteer St., Church Hill, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Volunteer hosted a free COVID-19 testing event this past Saturday as well, which likely explains the big increase in negative tests being reported by the Tennessee Department of Health.

Last Thursday, April 16, Hawkins County had 26 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, and 228 negative tests. As of this Thursday evening, the number of positive COVID-19 tests in Hawkins County was at 28.

But, thanks largely to the results of free testing at Volunteer this past Saturday, as of Thursday evening Hawkins County's negative tests had risen to 506 — an increase of 278.

Last Thursday, Sullivan County had 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 419 negative tests. As of this Thursday, Sullivan County had 47 confirmed cases and 665 negative tests — an increase of 246.

Last Thursday, Washington County had 46 positive cases and 549 negative tests. As of this Thursday, Washington County remained at 46 positives, but increased to 963 negatives.

Nurses and/or National Guard medics will be at the Greeneville and Volunteer High School sites to collect nasal swabs from those who want to be tested. Test results may be available within 72 hours after the samples arrive at the lab, depending on lab volume. You do not have to live in the county to be tested at this event.

A Times News reporter who was tested on Saturday at Volunteer received his negative results Monday afternoon.

Hawkins graduation ceremony dates still uncertain

Hawkins County Director of Schools Matt Hixson announced on Tuesday that due to large group gathering restrictions the school system cannot set a date for high school graduation ceremonies at this time.

“We will be providing detailed plans to the senior class and their families over the next few weeks,” Hixson said. “We currently have three scenarios involving delayed graduation or virtual graduation, and will work with high school administrations to finalize plans once we have more detailed information released to us from state government, the department of education and state and local health officials.”

Prom is canceled

Due to health department recommended precautions and the restrictions on large gatherings, the Hawkins County School System is canceling all high school proms for this school year.

End of year grades

May 14 has been established as the deadline to submit any outstanding student work. This is especially important to high school seniors looking to earn second semester course completions. Hixson said all students will be provided additional learning opportunities beyond May 14 and into the summer months.

County Commission meeting canceled

Monday's Hawkins County Commission meeting, which was originally announced to take place via conference call at 6 p.m., has been canceled. Commission chairman Rick Brewer announced that a special called meeting will be scheduled at a later date.

Hawkins 911 Board meeting Tuesday

 The Hawkins County 911 Board has scheduled a called meeting for Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Hawkins County Central Dispatch, 2291 E. Main St., Rogersville.

Due to COVID-19 executive orders, attendance will be limited to board members, but video and audio recordings of the meeting will be available to the public. A main topic of the meeting is expected to be the hiring of a new 911 director.

City meeting schedules

The regular monthly Mount Carmel Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting that was scheduled for Thursday was canceled due to COVID-19. The March 26 meeting was canceled as well.

City Manager Mike Housewright said he anticipates workshops for the 2020-21 fiscal year budget will begin in early May, and regular monthly BMA meetings will commence with the May 29 regularly scheduled meeting.

The Rogersville BMA/Water Commission is still scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall, although the meeting won't be open to the public, and instead will be live-streamed to the public on Rogersville's municipal Facebook page.

The Church Hill BMA has its first 2020-21 budget workshop scheduled for 5 p.m. at City Hall.

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