Cold, flu or COVID?

According to the state health department, 15 people in Rhea County have died from COVID-19.

Rhea County’s confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 900 recently, and as of press time Tuesday, the county had recorded 913 confirmed cases, according to state figures.

Records provided by the state indicate that as of Tuesday, there were 104 active cases in Rhea County; 794 individuals have recovered from the virus and 15 people have died from COVID-19.

Local county officials and hospital officials are still urging residents to wear masks while in public, especially in indoor, crowded areas

“At this point, we’re just encouraging Rhea County residents to wear a mask,” Rhea County Executive George Thacker said. “We also are still encouraging social distancing, hand washing and staying home when you feel sick.”

Officials with Rhea Medical center recently spoke out about the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rhea County and also encouraged wearing masks, especially in enclosed spaces.

Rhea Medical Center Infection Preventionist Brandi Lytle also stressed the importance of wearing masks, especially in enclosed places where people are talking or singing.

“Wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing are the most effective thing you can do to stop from getting COVID-19 and stop others from giving it to you,” Lytle said.

COVID-19 testing is till available at sites throughout Rhea County. To obtain a test, contact Rhea Medical Center’s Dr. Mercedes Payne at 365-4486, Dr. John Yager at 299-1390 or Dr. Torben Svendsen at 285-6240. Testing is also available at the Rhea County Health Department Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 11 a.m.