Like many other states, Tennessee is experiencing an increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, as state officials work to combat emerging hotspots of the virus in parts of the state — including in East Tennessee.
According to the TN Dept. of Health, there have been 95 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the past 48 hours, the most in a two-day period since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Currently, there are 475 people hospitalized with coronavirus across the state. It’s the highest cumulative number since the outbreak began, as well.
Five days ago, there were 395 people hospitalized with Covid-19. Since that time, the number of cumulative hospitalizations has increased by just over 20%.
So far, the increase in hospitalizations has not resulted in a marked increase in deaths. Over the past seven days, there have been 58 coronavirus-related deaths in Tennessee, an average of just over eight per day. The Dept. of Health reported 11 new hospitalizations on Thursday, and 14 on Wednesday. During that same time span, there have been an average of about 32 people per day hospitalized.
Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 patients who are hospitalized with coronavirus in Tennessee have died since the pandemic reached the Volunteer State. The vast majority of people who are infected with coronavirus experience mild symptoms — or no symptoms at all. However, the prognosis worsens among people who are ill enough to require hospitalization.
If there is good news in the latest hospitalization data, it could be this: The 475 current hospitalizations are just 3.9% of Tennessee’s more than 12,000 active coronavirus cases. Traditionally, the number of Covid-19 patients requiring hospitalization in the Volunteer State has been almost double that. That could be an indication that, as some global health experts have suggested, the virus is losing a bit of its potency.
However, the overall number of coronavirus cases in Tennessee continues to rapidly grow, as new infections outpace recoveries. The Dept. of Health is routinely reporting 700 or more new infections each day now, numbers that once would have been brow-raising. The number of active cases has grown by almost 20% in just the past week — after growing by more than 15% the week before that, and by 11% the week before that. In other words, the rate of increase is growing. And the percentage of Tennessee’s tests that are returning positive has also increased. According to the Dept. of Health’s data, 8.7% of test results returned in the last 24 hours have been positive. At one point, Tennessee was routinely returning positive results on fewer than 5% of tests.
Even with the increase in hospitalizations, only about 1 in 5 of Tennessee’s 12,318 available hospital beds — and its 2,005 ICU beds — were occupied as of Wednesday. However, there could be cause for concern: More than 70% of the state’s 1,538 available ventilators were in use as of Wednesday.
An explosion of new cases has been seen in recent days in Morristown and Hamblen County, where there were 66 active cases as of Thursday. That’s almost triple the number of active cases there were in Hamblen County just one week ago.
Hamblen County is one of several East Tennessee coronavirus hotspots being monitored especially close by the Dept. of Health. In Sevier County, the number of active cases has grown to 277, a continuation of a pattern that has persisted across the past two weeks. In Knoxville, there are 251 active cases, a number that continues to grow. While the Knox County Health Department, which operates independently from the state health department, is reporting only 172 active cases, that’s still the most thus far. And there are currently nine people hospitalized with Covid-19 illness in Knox County, the highest number thus far.
Better news: In Chattanooga, the number of active cases is in decline. There are currently 835 active cases in Hamilton County. One week ago, there were 1,026. And in Cookeville there are currently 112 active cases of the virus. One week ago, there were 132; at one point, there were more than 200.
Closer to home, the trends remain calm. There is only one active cases of coronavirus in Scott County, and hasn’t been a new case reported in seven days. And the growth of new cases seems to have stabilized in Anderson County, where there are currently 19 active cases. There are currently three active cases in Fentress County, two in Pickett County, two in Morgan County and just one in Campbell County.
By the numbers: 727,268 people have been tested for coronavirus in Tennessee, or 107 per 1,000 people. In Scott County, 1,126 people have been tested, or 51 per 1,000 people.
• 5.2% (38,034) of those tests have returned positive, including 8.7% (799) of the 9,230 new test results reported Thursday. In Scott County, 1.2% (14) of the tests have returned positive.
• 6.4% (2,431) of the positive tests have required hospitalization, including 45 new hospitalizations reported Thursday.
• Tennessee’s 567 coronavirus-related deaths equate to 23.3% of the hospitalizations.
• 1.5% (567) of Tennessee’s known coronavirus cases have resulted in death.
• 66.5% (25,280) of those diagnosed with coronavirus in Tennessee have recovered, including 587 new recoveries reported Thursday.