NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Thursday, October 15.
The health department reported 2,289 new cases, bringing the state to 222,827 total cases, a 1% day-to-day increase since Wednesday. Of the total cases, 212,116 are confirmed and 10,711 are probable.
Tennessee’s seven-day new cases average increased to 1,911 additional cases per day.
Of the 222,827 cases, 114,534 are female (51%), 106,445 are male (48%), and 1,848 are pending (1%).
TDH also confirmed 36 additional deaths, bringing Tennessee up to 2,864 total deaths.
Out of the confirmed positive cases, 200,164 are listed as inactive/recovered, an increase of 1,699 in the last 24 hours.
The number of total hospitalizations now sits at 9,416. There are 1,149 people currently hospitalized.
Tennessee has processed 3,257,952 tests with 3,035,125 negative results. The percentage for positive cases remains around 6.8%. Thursday’s update added 24,653 tests to the state’s total.
A member of Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Security Detail has tested positive for COVID-19.
The governor’s office released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying Lee is feeling well and has tested negative for COVID-19 but out of an abundance of caution, he is quarantining at home with the First Lady until further notice.
Late Wednesday afternoon, sources close to the First Lady told News 2 that she also had tested negative.
Doctors say they’ve seen a trend of COVID-19 cases growing in rural Tennessee.
“In these small communities, with a lot of covid activity, we’re seeing disease activity in the 100 to 200 new cases per 100 thousand people per day,” said Dr. David Aronoff, direct of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt Medical University Center. “Even though those counties don’t have as many people, those people are very effectively spreading COVID-19 from one person to another.”
Dr. Aronoff believes the increase in cases comes from the loosening of protocols like mask mandates.
“This pandemic is still very active and it’s very active because of silent transmission events,” Dr. Aronoff explained. “It’s active because people without symptoms, who do not know they are infected, are in fact infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are capable of transmitting to other people.”
An unpublished report prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force emphasizes the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 in multiple “red zone” states, including Tennessee.
The information was revealed in a document, dated Oct. 4, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit newsroom based in Washington D.C. The report, which is provided to governors across the United States, suggests 24 states are in the “red zone” for coronavirus cases.
Tennessee is currently ranked number 14 on the list, which is topped by states including North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
COVID-19 in Nashville
Earlier Thursday, Metro Public Health Department officials reported an increase of 54 COVID-19 cases in Davidson County, bringing the county’s total to 31,011.
During the city’s weekly COVID-19 news briefing Thursday morning, Nashville’s health director, Dr. Michael Caldwell announced 36 case clusters had been identified since Aug. 31. The list of coronavirus case clusters identified over the last two months in Nashville and Davidson County includes a volleyball tournament, two weddings, a karaoke bar, and a 7th-grade party among private school students.
The Metro Nashville Public Health Department is investigating a large gathering that drew thousands of people to downtown Nashville over the weekend.
Meharry Medical College CEO Dr. James Hildreth said the gathering had the markings of a super-spreader event.
“It’s one of the things we cringe when we see in terms of public health officials. We know that it’s a situation that is ideal for the spread of the virus and it’s unfortunate and hopefully, some things can be done to encourage people that when they’re going to be in a large crowd at least they should wear a mask,” said Dr. Hildreth.
Newly released dispatch calls gave a closer look at the “Let Us Worship” event held Sunday afternoon outside the Metro Courthouse. Video on social media showed thousands of people packed together with no social distancing or face masks.
The chairman of the Metro Coronavirus Task Force says he was “concerned” when he learned of a large gathering held outside of the Metro Courthouse in downtown Nashville over the weekend.