NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Saturday, October 17.
The health department reported 2,646 new cases, bringing the state to 226,139 total cases, a 1.2% day-to-day increase since Friday. Of the total cases, 215,062 are confirmed and 11,077 are probable.
Tennessee’s seven-day new cases average increased to 1,927 additional cases per day.
Of the 226,139 cases, 116,290 are female (51%), 107,971 are male (48%), and 1,878 are pending (1%).
TDH also confirmed 32 additional deaths, bringing Tennessee up to 2,903 total deaths.
Out of the confirmed positive cases, 203,586 are listed as inactive/recovered, an increase of 1,755 in the last 24 hours.
The number of total hospitalizations now sits at 9,555. There are 1,166 people currently hospitalized.
Tennessee has processed 3,294,056 tests with 3,067,917 negative results. The percentage of positive cases increased to 6.9%. Saturday’s update added 30,354 tests to the state’s total.
Friday’s update had a low number of new tests due to a technical issue, a tweet from the health department states.
“Our reporting system infrastructure experienced technical issues on 10/15 resulting in lower test numbers for the 10/16 report. Our IT professionals are working diligently to correct it. We anticipate higher than normal numbers over the next few days as the backlog is cleared.”
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 early this 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 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 Saturday, Metro Public Health Department officials reported an increase of 22 COVID-19 cases in Davidson County, bringing the county’s total to 31,200.
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.
Health officials are investigating a large gathering that drew thousands of people to downtown Nashville last Sunday.
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 last the weekend.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.