NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Members of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force were urging caution this holiday season, saying the COVID-19 outbreak in Nashville has reached a new peak.
“The COVID-19 outbreak in Nashville is now at an all-time high,” said Mayor John Cooper during Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing. “During the past two weeks, we’ve gone from 336 to 440 active COVID hospitalizations here in Davidson County – a 31 percent increase which strains local hospital resources and is especially hard on our front-line healthcare staff.”
Metro Public Health announced 810 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. Four of the key metrics in the Roadmap for Re-opening were in the red.
The mayor said the 14-day average case count increased 27 percent over the past two weeks, and the average new case trend per 100,000 residents saw a 19 percent caseload higher than Metro’s last briefing.
Metro leaders did not announce any additional restrictions for businesses.
“The encouragement of wearing masks is going to allow us hopefully to stay in place where we are. With community spread, you do have circumstances where what is happening at home and in your backyard is where we’re spreading the disease,” Mayor Cooper said. “These are areas where you can’t regulate your way to success.”
Metro health officials are also working with the state to clear a backlog of COVID-19 cases.
The city is working to expand the hours of operations at its testing sites next week. They are urging people to get tested if they traveled or gathered with folks outside their household over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Metro leaders said they were working with the state to establish a distribution plan for a COVID-19 vaccine, which will happen in phases and prioritize vulnerable populations like the elderly.
Until then, Meharry Medical College CEO Dr. James Hildreth urged people to wear masks and social distance to help be heroes to healthcare workers on the frontline.
“Imagine now that day after day, week after week, month after month, you’re surrounded by death and dying and really sick people. That is the story of many healthcare workers who are on the frontlines today. Some of them have to stand in for family when people take their last breath because family can’t be there with them. So you think you’re weary and tired of the pandemic, imagine how weary they must be,” said Dr. Hildreth.
Dr. Hildreth was appointed to the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee. He said on December 10th they will meet to review data from the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Trial and vote on whether to recommend approval to the commissioner. The committee will then review the data from the Moderna vaccine trial a week later.