COVID-19 cases spike in state as Gov. Lee looks to open economy

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The state of Tennessee now has 7,842 positive cases with 166 deaths from COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the number of positive cases increased significantly.

“If we weren’t doing more testing these are cases we might not have identified,” Said Dr. David Aronoff, Division of Infectious Diseases Director at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as he discussed the latest COVID-19 cases and the increase in testing in the state. 

The latest numbers released by the Tennessee Department of Health show an increase of 448 new positive cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. This is the highest number of cases since April 1st when the state reported 444 positive cases.

“This was a pretty big increase in cases identified in a 24 hour period across the state and well may reflect the fact that we have been doing a lot more testing,” said Dr. Aronoff. “I think we need to see this increase settle out and come down before any kind of major moves are made in opening businesses.”

On Monday, Gov. Bill Lee announced plans to remove the “Safer at Home” order on April 30th.

“For the good of our state social distancing must continue, but our economic shutdown cannot,” said Gov. Bill Lee.

The decision to open the economy is drawing mixed reviews, some in favor of the move, but some people saying April 30 is premature.

“It is incredibly disappointing that the governor made what he feels is a politically safe decision rather than a well crafted and thought out health policy decision,” said State Rep. John Ray Clemmons.

Dr. David Aronoff says many eyes will be on the number of positive cases in Tennessee for the next few days, but the decisions are ones many of our decision-makers have never had to make.

“How do we open up an economy in a way that allows businesses to get back up and running, that allows people to make money,” said Dr. Aronoff. “And at the same time mitigate what has turned out to be a potentially lethal pandemic. It is a situation that we haven’t been in.”

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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