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Knox County Health Department: We're prepared to monitor quarantines, isolations

Dr. Martha Buchanan said people will have different requirements to follow depending on their exposure history.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the Knox County Health Department, mandating quarantine or isolation for at-risk individuals is nothing new.

Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of KCHD, said it's a "fairly regular" practice since there are tuberculosis cases in the county.

"It's something we have experience in and we've done before," Buchanan told 10News. "We have to quarantine and isolate people related to those TB cases."

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For cases related to COVID-19, Dr. Buchanan said the level of enforcement will vary by person.

Those with the least amount of risk will be allowed to self-monitor.

"They're not really in quarantine," Buchanan said. "We might ask them to limit their activities, pay attention to their symptoms and let us know if they get sick."

For people exposed to more risk, they might be required to stay home, check their temperature regularly and report if they're sick.

Those with the highest level of risk will be checked daily by KCHD.

"Some folks we are checking in on every day to see what their temperatures and see how they're how they're feeling," Buchanan said. "It's all based on the risk stratification and where they fall."

Buchanan said taking an accurate medical and travel histories is essential to properly identifying an individual's risk stratification.

If an individual is in quarantine for 14 days and does not develop symptoms, Buchanan said they can return to their normal life.

"You go about your normal activities," Buchanan said. "You might get sick from something else, but not from COVID-19."

KCHD said it has established a COVID-19 public information line effective Wednesday. People can call 865-215-5555 or toll-free at 888-288-6022. The information line will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The information line is expected to have a high volume of calls, so if people receive a busy signal they should try again later. People should also bring their concerns to their health care providers.

Additional information about COVID-19 can be found on KCHD and CDC’s website.

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