NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health announced on Thursday it would be changing the format for sharing data on COVID-19 to update how some metrics are calculated, reflecting evolving knowledge of the pandemic.
The new format reflects a change in how active cases are calculated and a correction in county of residence for some cases.
TDH is adding new resources including data snapshots for each county and a Critical Indicators Report.
“We’re pleased to be adding new reports to help support rapid public health actions in Tennessee communities,” said Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “We also want to promote data transparency and help Tennesseans understand the reason case counts for some counties will change as we correct information based on their addresses.”
Reporting Inactive/Recovered Cases
Under the new format, TDH case count reports will include figures for “Inactive/Recovered” cases and will no longer include data for “Recovered” cases. “Inactive/Recovered” cases will include people who are 14 days or more beyond their illness onset date (or, for asymptomatic cases, their specimen collection date). This will more closely align with what is now understood about the infectious period of COVID-19, as recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show most patients with COVID-19 are no longer infectious after 10 days. Previously, TDH considered a case recovered after a 21-day period.
Correcting County Locations
TDH also corrected discrepancies in county location for about 1,700 cases, as the county to which they were originally assigned does not correspond correctly to their street addresses.
A release from the department explained, “this can occur in laboratory reports because some lab systems automatically assign county location based on the patient’s ZIP code, which may be incorrect if the ZIP code straddles county lines. These cases will be corrected all at once, which will result in case count changes for some counties. A solution is in place to automate this process in the future.”
Individual County Data Snapshots
Also announced in the update, Individual County Data Snapshots. The snapshots provide information on case counts, hospitalizations, testing, and more for each county and can be found here.
Critical Indicators Report
The new weekly Critical Indicators Report includes information to help stakeholders monitor trends in cases, symptoms, testing capabilities, and health care system capacity. Find the Critical Indicators Report online here.
TDH has also changed hospitalizations reporting. Instead of releasing total hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic it will now release data on current hospitalizations posted here.
Also on Thursday, the Tennessee Department of Education released plans to report additional COVID-19 information at school and district levels, including numbers of new positive COVID-19 cases in districts and schools.