The TN Dept. of Health on Tuesday reported fewer than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus across the state, the first time there have been fewer than 1,000 new cases in a single day in more than three months.
The Dept. of Health reported a total of 962 new cases on Tuesday. The last time fewer than 1,000 new cases were reported was on Nov. 1, when 754 new cases were reported. Tuesday’s report came after the agency reported only 1,143 new cases on Monday, which at that point was the fewest new cases in a single day since Nov. 1.
Coronavirus has been in decline in Tennessee for more than a month. As of Tuesday there were only 21,659 active cases of the virus across the state, the fewest since Oct. 18, almost exactly four months ago.
Additionally, the number of deaths being attributed to coronavirus — which has claimed the lives of nearly 11,000 Tennesseans — have finally nosedived along with hospitalizations. The Dept. of Health reported 17 new covid deaths on Tuesday, after reporting only four on Monday. It has been six days since at least 100 deaths were reported in a single day, and 31 is the highest number of deaths reported in a single day in the last four days. Prior to last week, an average of 93 new deaths were being reported every day by the Dept. of Health since Jan. 1.
The number of people currently hospitalized by coronavirus in Tennessee is 1,106, just about one-third of the number of people who were hospitalized in early January.
Unfortunately, a similar decline of covid prevalence in Scott County has been disrupted. The Dept. of Health reported 114 active cases of the virus in Scott County on Tuesday, up two from Monday. The county topped out at 363 active covid cases on Dec. 21, but had declined to as few as 83 last month.
The Dept. of Health reported 52 new cases of the virus in Scott County on Tuesday, marking the fourth time in the past six days that at least 50 new cases of the virus have been reported locally. For the 7-day period ending Tuesday, there were 390 new cases of the virus reported here, the most in any 7-day period since the pandemic began.
However, it isn’t known how many of those cases are current; in fact, it’s assumed that most of them aren’t current. The Dept. of Health reported 50 newly inactive cases on Tuesday and has reported 369 in the past week. Because that number far exceeds the number of new cases that were being reported two weeks ago — about the length of time it takes for a case to be moved from “active” to “inactive” — it is assumed that most of the new cases being reported are at least weeks if not months old.
Although the Dept. of Health has not offered an explanation for the surge of new cases, which began with 146 new cases being reported on Thursday, it is assumed that the agency is assigning a backlog of previously unassigned cases to patients’ counties of residence. The number of cases listed by the state as “pending” and not assigned to a county has decreased from more than 25,000 to just over 15,500 in the past week.
Still, the surge of new cases being attributed to Scott County is not the indicator that the prevalence of coronavirus is increasing here. Rather, it is the slowly-but-surely rising number of active cases that is giving cause for alarm.
Another red flag is testing positivity, which had once dropped beneath the CDC-advised threshold of 10% but which is now skyrocketing in Scott County. For the 7-day period ending Tuesday, testing positivity in Scott County was 36% — and that 7-day average continues to increase each day.
Statewide, testing positivity for the past week was just 8%.
There have been at least 2,824 people infected by coronavirus in Scott County, of which 41 have died and 52 have been hospitalized. The Dept. of Health has not reported a covid-related fatality in Scott County in the past six days.
In Knox County, the nearest metropolitan area to Scott County, active cases have declined to 2,032, of which 60 are hospitalized.