NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health released its COVID-19 update for Friday, February 26.
The department reported 1,573 new cases, putting the state at 772,513 total cases, with 647,629 confirmed and 124,884 probable.
There are currently 14,182 active COVID-19 cases in the state, the lowest number of active cases since October 3, 2020 (13,502).
Tennessee’s seven-day new cases average is currently 1,406 additional cases per day (+2% change since the previous day). This is the fourth straight day the 7-day average has increased. The last time the average increased four days in a row was at the beginning of January. The 14-day new cases average is 1,302 (-4% change since the previous day).
TDH confirmed 56 additional deaths, bringing the state up to 11,377 total deaths. The state has added 1,727 deaths so far in the month of February, with an average of 66 additional deaths per day. February currently ranks as Tennessee’s third deadliest month of the pandemic (#1 January: 2,743; #2 December: 2,305).
Out of the total positive cases, 746,954 are listed as inactive/recovered, an increase of 1,754 in the last 24 hours.
Earlier in the day, the state reported 1,283 people are currently hospitalized in Tennessee due to COVID-19. The number of total COVID hospitalizations now sits at 18,553.
- Floor Bed Availability: There are 1,789 (15%) available floor beds in the state, up 2% from the previous day’s report.
- ICU Bed Availability: There are 235 (11%) available ICU beds in the state, down 8% from the previous day’s report. Since Monday, the number of available ICU beds has dropped 39%.
Tennessee has processed 6,753,759 tests with 5,981,246 negative results. The percentage of positive cases is 11.4%. Friday’s update added 18,655 tests to the state’s total with 6.72% percent-positive cases.
Vaccination registration for residents aged 65 and older and those in Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is now underway for nearly every county in the state.
As of Friday, Davidson County residents 65+ can make reservations and receive their first dose of the vaccine. The program used to schedule those appointments briefly crashed Friday morning due to “high volume of traffic”, Metro Health officials reported. The system was restored around 10:15 a.m.
From availability to current phases, find vaccine information for every Tennessee county using News 2’s Vaccine Tracker map.
Shelby County ‘Vaccine Wastage’ Investigation
This week the Tennessee Department of Health provided information on the investigation of reported wastage of COVID-19 vaccine by the Shelby County Health Department, which found seven incidents of vaccine waste, amounting to more than 2,400 wasted doses. The investigation also uncovered an excess of about 30,000 doses.
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said he still had confidence in the leadership of the health department and the county’s side of the story hadn’t been told.
“There was 50,000 doses on the shelf. But a lot of those doses were for teacher vaccinations and for missed appointments, so a lot of this story hasn’t been told,” Harris said. “So we’re going to tell this story and put out the right information.”
Wednesday afternoon, Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey released a statement saying Mayor Harris’s comments alerted them to more significant violations in the county’s vaccine program.
TDH said Friday they have contacted the FBI over the potential theft of COVID-19 vaccines by a volunteer from the Pipkin site in Memphis. Dr. Lisa Piercey with TDH said the incident may have occurred Feb. 3. The FBI was contacted Thursday night. Piercey said the doses had already been drawn into syringes. The volunteer allegedly left with them. The Shelby County Health Department did not disclose the possible theft until Piercey mentioned the possibility of a federal investigation.
Dr. Piercey also noted a separate event in which she said two children were vaccinated at the city-run Appling site.
COVID-19 in Nashville
Restaurants and bars that serve alcohol in Nashville and Davidson County will be allowed to remain open until 1 a.m. daily beginning Monday. During his weekly news briefing, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said recent coronavirus metrics have shown improvement, allowing for restaurants and bars to stay open an hour later than the current closing time of midnight, as of March 1.
Metro Health officials also approved a plan for fans to attend the upcoming SEC men’s basketball tournament.