Federal Law Forces Knox County to Record Local Coronavirus Case, Even Though Person Who Got it is in Another State


Knox County Health Department officials said Tuesday they recorded a second confirmed case of coronavirus in the area, even though the person who got it wasn’t actually in Knox County.

For that matter, the person who took ill wasn’t even in Tennessee when medical professionals told him or her about the diagnosis.

That’s because of an apparently little known quirk in how the feds tally the number of people who catch the coronavirus, said Knox County Health Department Director Dr. Martha Buchanan, at a press conference Tuesday.

“This is not a case of community transmission. The way that the state and the federal governments count diseases is based on address of record. The address of record for the person who tested positive is in Knox County. This person was tested in a different state and lives in a different country and has not been in Knox County during any period of their infectivity or during any period of their illness or before,” Buchanan said.

“This is a person who has their address of record in Knox County, lives in another country, got tested in a different state and has not been in Knox County. This does not pose any threat to anybody in Knox County. We wanted to clarify that. It is confusing.”

Buchanan said members of her department are asking the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, to change their policy.

She did not say which state the person in question was in when he or she learned the diagnosis.

As of Wednesday, the number of coronavirus cases in Knox County is slight when one compares it to the number of cases in Nashville and Davidson County.

Alex Jahangir, who chairs the Metro Nashville Coronavirus Task Force, said Wednesday that Nashville had 46 confirmed cases of the illness, an increase of 21 over the preceding 24 hours. The patients range in age from 11 to 73-years-old. Of the confirmed cases, two are hospitalized, Jahangir said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Knox County Health Department Building” by Knox County Health Department. 






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