NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Sunday, October 18.
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.”
The White House quietly told Tennessee last week that “a statewide mask mandate must be implemented” to curb its growing spread of COVID-19, strong instructions that the White House and governor did not discuss publicly before the report emerged in a records request.
Earlier this month, an unpublished report prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force emphasized the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 in multiple “red zone”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
A karaoke bar and a women’s shelter are the two latest locations to experience a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Nashville and Davidson County.
The Metro Public Health Department released an updated list Friday afternoon, detailing many of the 150 coronavirus case clusters identified since the pandemic began in March.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.