Both Chattanooga and Dalton made the list of where outbreaks may come next.
UPDATE: Double-digit increases in positive COVID-19 cases in Chattanooga and Dalton have put both cities on the nation’s radar for places that could see a coronavirus flare-up.
A recent New York Times article named both in the top 10 potential hot spots for future outbreaks based on a rise in cases in the last two weeks.
“We have ongoing concerns about the transmission of the virus in our community,” North Georgia Health District Director Dr. Zachary Taylor told Channel 3.
Nationally, the number of COVID-19 cases has begun to level out. But according to the article published earlier this week, Chattanooga is now in the top 5 cities with the highest average daily growth rate of cases — doubling every 10 days.
“I’m concerned about the rate of increase that we’ve seen in our cases over the last several weeks, particularly this past week,” Mayor Andy Berke said Wednesday during a news conference.
It’s a troubling development for Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke as Hamilton County reports 773 positive cases.
“The health department even said yesterday, we know that there’s increased spread. It’s not purely attributable to increased testing,” he explained.”When I saw the New York Times piece about us, I was really upset. It’s difficult to think about so many people in our community being affected by COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, Dalton is in seventh place with a 6 percent average growth rate of cases–doubling every 11 days. According to Taylor, the total number of cases in Whitfield County grew by nearly a third in the last week.
“As of this morning, we had 307 cases reported in Whitfield County and that is an increase of about 98 or so from about a week ago,” he said.
Officials say with no vaccine available for treatment, residents should continue to practice social distancing, wear masks and follow CDC guidelines.
Hamilton County Health Administrator Becky Barnes said Tuesday during a news conference that they can only expect to see surges in cases and that social distancing and contact tracing are the only tools they have to fight the virus at this point.
PREVIOUS STORY: A report in Tuesday’s New York Times lists Chattanooga’s COVID-19 case outbreak possibilities as the fourth-highest in the U.S., with rates on new cases doubling every 9.9 days.
Hamilton County has seen recent spikes on the number of confirmed cases.
South of Chattanooga, Dalton also made the list in the same list in the position of the seventh-highest in the country, with cases counts doubling every 12.2 days.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke called a news briefing for Wednesday afternoon to address the points made in the story.
The New York Times story, which has been updated online it was originally published, lists ‘Five Ways to Monitor the Coronavirus Outbreak in the U.S.‘
The third section of the online story, titled ‘Where Outbreaks Might Come Next’ details the regions of the United States with the areas where the number of cases is growing rapidly.