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How many cases in Oak Ridge?

I have been asked why I have talked about data on coronavirus in the counties, instead of in our city of Oak Ridge. The answer is that the state does not provide information for the city.

However, they do publish some data that starts to answer the question about Oak Ridge. Maps are published periodically that give ranges of values for case rates by zip code. The latest map of recent conditions shows that as of July 29, the 37830 zip code had a 21-day case rate between 347 and 425 cases per 100,000 population. That works out to 104 to 127 new cases in Oak Ridge during the 3-week period July 9 to July 29 (about 5 or 6 new cases every day, on average). Another map shows that from the beginning of the pandemic through July 31, Oak Ridge has had a total case rate between 741 and 1029 cases per 100,000. According to my arithmetic, that is somewhere between 222 and 309 total cases since this began.

With school reopening, the Oak Ridge school district has pledged to keep the community informed about cases in our schools. The state health department is not doing this statewide, but they have started publishing a new data set (by county) on coronavirus cases in kids ages 5 to 18 (school-age kids). The numbers for our two counties will be sobering information for our school leaders who have been working to start the school year safely:

  • In the last 13 days (July 19 to 31), 45 Anderson County kids and 27 Roane County kids were reported with new positive tests for COVID-19.

Best wishes to everyone as we try to keep each other safe!

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A bit of vision

Cedar Hill ParkNow that the deadline for answers to the Progress PAC’s questions has passed (and it’s no longer possible for candidates to copy off each other’s papers), I’ll post the responses that I provided to their questions. These were interesting questions — you don’t have to be a Chamber member to be interested in candidates’ answers.

Question 1: Please explain your vision for the City of Oak Ridge for the next 5 years.

My response: Five years from now I want Oak Ridge to be recognized as one of the most desirable residential communities (ideally, the single most desirable community) in the Knoxville metropolitan area. Attainment of this vision will require significant progress in retail development, housing/neighborhood quality, and effective marketing of the community. It also requires maintaining and enhancing the quality of our schools, public services and amenities, as well as minimizing increases in residential property taxes.

An additional vision that doesn’t fold easily into the above: I want the Manhattan Project National Historic Park to be up and running, with national park logos on highway signs leading into Oak Ridge, a revitalized AMSE that is successfully transitioning to nonprofit operation independent from DOE, regular tours (paid for by visitor fees) of Manhattan Project historic facilities, and increased visitor recreational access to federal lands (such as the Wheat community and Freels Bend) that represent the historical landscape where the Manhattan Project was sited.

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