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Tennessee's Lake County leads US in per capita virus cases

By TRAVIS LOLLER Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A small county in the northwest corner of Tennessee is once again leading the nation in active coronavirus cases per capita after an outbreak at a state prison.

An analysis by The Associated Press on Wednesday shows Lake County, with a population of just over 7,500, has reported 352 new cases over the past seven days. Online records posted by the state showed Lake with 360 active cases on Wednesday morning.

Health Department spokesperson Shelley Walker said in an email that the high case count is attributable to an outbreak at the Northwest Correctional Complex there, although online records for the prison show only 230 inmates as positive for the virus.

Walker and a spokesperson for the Correction Department were not able to immediately explain the discrepancy.

At one point last month, Tennessee's Trousdale County had the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the U.S. and Bledsoe County had the fifth, according to an Associated Press analysis. In both counties, the high infection rates were attributable to their local prisons.

Meanwhile, the Dollywood Theme Park and Dollywood's Splash Country Water Park are preparing to open June 15 and June 16 for season pass guests and June 17 for the general public.

Social distancing guidelines will limit the capacity of the parks on a daily basis, according to a news release from Dollywood. Season passholders will be required to reserve the date and time they wish to visit and general admission guests will purchase a date-based ticket.

Both workers and visitors will be required to have a touchless temperature screening and wear a mask. Only children under three are not required to wear masks.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and be life-threatening.

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