Note: This story was last updated at 12:30 p.m.
Tennessee reported 1,188 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a new daily high, and the state passed 500 confirmed deaths on Saturday, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
The new high in daily new cases occurred in the same week that the state reported what are now its third- and sixth-highest totals of new cases in one day: 885 on Sunday, June 14, and 726 on Monday, June 15.
Of the 1,188 new cases reported Friday, the state said 1,181 were new confirmed cases and seven were new probable cases.
The previous daily high was 1,156 on May 1. That was reported after a large number of new cases was diagnosed at Turner Trousdale Correctional Center, according to Nashville investigative reporter Phil Williams.
It’s not clear why there was a new high on Friday. There was a large number of new tests reported, 15,176. But the rate of positive results, 7.8 percent (comparing total new cases to total new tests), was in the range of the rate for the rest of the week, when the positive rate ranged between 4.9 percent and 8.8 percent.
The number of cases increased by a lower amount over the weekend. There were 431 new cases reported on Saturday and 647 new cases on Sunday.
On Thursday, Lisa Piercey, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, said the state had expected a gradual increase in cases as the state allowed businesses and organizations to re-open after being closed for a month or more due to COVID-19 and as many employees return to work.
“We’re not alarmed by it,” Piercey said, before Friday’s new daily high. “As people move about and have more contact with each other, the opportunity for disease spread does go up.”
She said the cases are largely concentrated in metropolitan areas where the populations are dense, but the state is also experiencing increases, sometimes double-digit increases daily, in rural areas and destinations often visited by tourists.
In Sevier County, a tourist destination in East Tennessee, the number of cases doubled in just eight days from 190 to 382, according to television station WBIR in Knoxville. That’s a much shorter doubling period than the state’s overall doubling rate, which is now over a month.
On Thursday, Piercey said the state always wanted to “flatten the curve” to ensure there would be sufficient hospital capacity for the sickest patients. Zero transmission was never the goal, she said. That won’t be possible until there is “herd immunity,” Piercey said.
Piercey said the state’s 1.55 percent mortality rate is one of the lowest in the nation, in part due to testing and accessible care.
She said the state’s hospitalization rate of about 7 percent has grown gradually but not as much as the case count. That’s in large part due to the lower age range of patients, Piercey said.
She said there are about 400 people in the hospital each day due to COVID-19. While that might sound high, it’s only about 4 percent of hospital patients across the state, Piercey said.
Although the hospitalization numbers are increasing, they are still very manageable and not a crisis, Piercey said.
The state continues to prepare and train for alternate care sites in Nashville and Memphis, the two most-affected areas, in case of disaster, Piercey said.
In Anderson County, Mayor Terry Frank said there have been seven total hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began and no new hospitalizations on Sunday.
The number of cases in Anderson County, confirmed and probable, remained at 74 for the third straight day on Sunday, according to the state health department data. There had been an increase in total cases and active cases in the county starting around June 6.
There have been two deaths and 52 recoveries in Anderson County, and there are now 20 active cases.
Frank said the positive rate of total tests remains at 1.11 percent in Anderson County.
During the Thursday press conference, Tennessee officials asked residents to wash their hands regularly, keep their distance from each other, and wear masks or face coverings.
Masks are not a political statement, Piercey said.
“They’re a sign that you care for your neighbor and that you care for yourself,” she said. “So please wear them anytime you are out in public.”
On Sunday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported 35,102 total cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee. That included 34,854 confirmed cases and 248 probable cases.
There have been 526 deaths, including 505 confirmed deaths and 21 probable deaths, the Tennessee Department of Health said.
The number of cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and recoveries have increased by about 10 percent or more in the past week:
- Total number of cases (confirmed and probable)—35,102. That’s up 4,670 in the past week, since Sunday, June 14. It’s a 15.3 percent increase.
- Total number of deaths (confirmed and probable)—526. That’s an increase of 51, or 10.7 percent, in the past week.
- Total hospitalizations—2,291 since the first case was diagnosed in Tennessee on Wednesday, March 4. The number increased by 204, or 9.8 percent, in the past week.
- Recoveries—23,067. That number rose 3,171, or 15.9 percent.
The number of active cases, calculated using confirmed cases minus recovered cases minus confirmed deaths, passed 10,000 in Tennessee last week.
It passed 11,000 on Sunday, when the number of active cases was 11,282.
It’s even higher if the number of active cases is calculated using total cases (confirmed and probable) minus total deaths (confirmed and probable) minus recovered cases. Measured that way, the number of active cases was 11,509 on Sunday.
In the past month, since May 21, the number of new cases in Tennessee has exceeded the number of recovered cases most days, with five exceptions.
Still, the number of recovered cases remains at about 66 percent, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
In counties surrounding Anderson County, Campbell, Loudon, and Morgan counties have reported their first deaths due to COVID-19. There have been 232 cases in Loudon County and 188 recoveries. There have been 26 cases in Campbell County and 23 recoveries. There have been 22 cases in Morgan County and 18 recoveries.
In other surrounding counties, Knox County has reported 656 cases, five deaths, and 452 recoveries. Roane County has reported 34 cases, no deaths, and 30 recoveries. Scott County has reported 14 cases, no deaths, and 13 recoveries. Union County has reported 10 cases, no deaths, and six recoveries.
COVID-19 is a new, contagious respiratory illness that can be deadly and can cause a range of health issues, including fevers, body aches, fatigue, coughing, and breathing problems, among other reported symptoms. The long-term effects remain unknown.
Patients who are 61 years old and older appear to be especially vulnerable to COVID-19, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health. In Tennessee, the number of deaths starts rising in the 41-50 age group, and it continues to climb in older age groups.
The population of Tennessee was estimated at about 6.8 million in July 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The population of Anderson County was estimated at about 76,978 in July 2019.
Outside Tennessee, the World Health Organization on Sunday reported the largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases, more than 183,000 new cases in the previous 24 hours. Almost nine million people have been infected around the world, and more than 468,000 people have died, according to CBS News. Mexico reported more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period, according to CNN.
Brazil, which has passed one million total cases, averaged more than 1,000 deaths per day in a one-week period ending Sunday. Brazil is the second country in the world, behind the United States, with the highest number of cases and deaths, CNN said.
In the United States, there have been more than 2.2 million cases and almost 120,000 deaths. New cases are dipping in some parts of the country but rising in the South, West, and Midwest, swamping hospitals in some areas, CBS News said.
With about 4 percent of the world’s population, the United States has about 25 percent of the world’s COVID-19 cases and deaths.
About 40 percent of the deaths in the United States have been residents and staff who died from outbreaks at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to CBS News.
Overall, new cases in the United States have been in a range between 20,000 and 30,000 per day, and they are spiking in states like Arizona and Florida, which has now passed 100,000 cases.
The numbers are trending in the right direction in states like New York, once the epicenter in the United States, but on Sunday, 10 states saw their highest seven-day average of daily new cases, according to CNN: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
Twenty-three states, including Tennessee, are experiencing a rise in new reported cases compared to the previous week, CNN said.
See the Tennessee Department of Health website here.
See previous story here.