It appears the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in Rhea County in the past 24 hours generated from workers on a farm.
In a video released last night, Rhea County Executive George Thacker says the number of positive COVID-19 active cases is expected to go from 13 to around 180.
“I know if you look at my numbers that I just put up, it shows 13,” says Thacker, “We went down, but I had a phone call late today and it looks like our numbers are going to go up from 13 to close to 180 people tomorrow (Thursday, May 21, 2020), and that’s what I’m here to talk about.”
Thacker says he received the call about the rise from the Tennessee Department of Health.
He urged residents to continue to keep their guard up.
“Please wash your hands, try to remember all the things we’ve talked about,” says Thacker, “If you’re going to go out now, knowing that we’ve got these kind of numbers here, please try to wear a mask. I think it’s so important right now to wear a mask.”
Thacker says testing is available at the Rhea County Medical Center in Dayton and the Rhea County Health Department in Evensville. He also urged residents to continue practicing safety measures during Memorial Day weekend.
Dr. Craig Swafford, a surgeon in Dayton, issued a statement today stating a large number of migrant workers at a farm tested positive for the virus.
“Yes there is a significant jump in the numbers in Rhea County. A large number of migrant workers have tested positive for the virus. We have communicated as the hospital and the county government with this particular farm (the name of the farm was not released) and have been assured that these folks have been isolated and will remain so. We are working to try and make sure that they have everything they need and will not be exposing other folks in our community,” said Dr. Swafford.
“There has been at least one confirmed case at the La-Z-Boy plant and that person is recovering after spending two days in ICU and appears much better. Contact tracing has been done within the factory and additional testing has been recommended steps have been taken to clean the workspace and minimize any additional exposure there and additional testing has been offered. Anyone at high risk of exposure will not be allowed to work for at least 14 days and your local health care professionals have recommended those people have a negative test before they are allowed to return to work.”
“There has been one confirmed case in a physician working at Life Care Center in Rhea County. This physician was wearing personal protective equipment and anyone that was exposed to the physician has been identified and additional testing has been recommended for residents and employees that came in contact with the physician. The physician is now quarantined and will not return to work for an extended period of time,” added Dr. Swafford.
The Tennessee Department of Health reported as of 2 p.m. today (May 21, 2020), 179 remaining active cases in Rhea County (up 174 cases from yesterday) out of 188 total case (up 175 cases from yesterday) with 1,042 negative tests.