NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Friday, October 16.
The health department reported 666 new cases, bringing the state to 223,493 total cases, a .3% day-to-day increase since Thursday. Of the total cases, 212,682 are confirmed and 10,811 are probable.
Tennessee’s seven-day new cases average decreased to 1,784 additional cases per day.
Of the 223,493 cases, 114,879 are female (51%), 106,752 are male (48%), and 1,862 are pending (1%).
TDH also confirmed seven additional deaths, bringing Tennessee up to 2,871 total deaths.
Out of the confirmed positive cases, 201,831 are listed as inactive/recovered, an increase of 1,697 in the last 24 hours.
The number of total hospitalizations now sits at 9,489. There are 1,140 people currently hospitalized.
Tennessee has processed 3,263,702 tests with 3,040,209 negative results. The percentage for positive cases remains around 6.8%. Friday’s update added 5,750 tests to the state’s total.
The reason Friday’s update had a low number of new tests was 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.”
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.
Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn have called for removing “negative consequences” for schools and educators associated with student assessments for the 2020-2021 school year. Those student assessments will be conducted as planned, the governor said.
“Given the unprecedented disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic and extended time away from the classroom has had on Tennessee’s students, my Administration will work with the General Assembly to bring forward a solution for this school year that alleviates any burdens associated with educator evaluations and school accountability metrics,” Governor Lee explained in a statement released Friday morning.
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 Friday, Metro Public Health Department officials reported an increase of 167 COVID-19 cases in Davidson County, bringing the county’s total to 31,178.
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.
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.