NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – COVID-19 cases continue on a rising trend in Tennessee.

“We are seeing an increase in COVID cases, really over the last about four to six weeks,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. John Dunn, DVM, Ph.D. “We were averaging about a seven-day average of cases of about two to 300, about six weeks ago. And now we’re at about 1500 to 1600 new cases, on average, seven-day average.”

Hospitalizations are up as well but Dr. Dunn said he’s encouraged that we’re not seeing a spike that we’ve seen in previous surges because there seems to be a slower increase in cases this time around.

“Obviously, we wish we didn’t have all this information about the previous COVID surges but it does help inform us about how searches might progress and when we need to start thinking about hospital resources and capacity,” he explained.

Hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past month. They went from about 200 this time in May to now 487 as of the most recent update from the state Wednesday.

“What we’re hearing is that we’re not seeing as severe of symptoms. And again, as I said, we’re not seeing the more rapid spike in terms of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Dunn. “But we’ll be we’ll be tracking that over time.”

He said the people who are hospitalized and become seriously ill.. still follow the trend we saw throughout the pandemic in that they’re mostly unvaccinated. Right now just under 57% of people statewide have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and just under 21% have gotten a booster dose.

“We monitor vaccine coverage amongst the new cases, new hospitalizations, and we begin to see a difference between case rates and hospitalization rates among the unvaccinated versus the vaccinated with higher rates among those that have no vaccine coverage,” said Dr. Dunn. “So that’s an important bit of information for people to understand that you know, vaccines are still available, and are one of the best ways to protect ourselves and our families from COVID infection.”

He said it’s up to individual people to weigh their risk of severe infection and take the proper precautions.

“We will encourage people to be aware that COVID is still out there and there are some things that people can do kind of personally, personal risk prevention measures, and then, you know, kind of some of our community measures also in terms have our vaccine uptake and so forth, that people should be aware of those and talking to their medical providers and, you know, kind of protect themselves as much as possible,” said Dr. Dunn.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 cases and vaccines in Tennessee.