NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed additional cases and deaths related to COVID-19 across the state on Monday, August 31.
The health department reported 1,818 new cases, bringing the state to 154,933 total cases, a 1.2% day-to-day increase since Sunday. Of the total cases, 151,250 are confirmed and 3,683 are probable.
A release from the department states, of the 1,818 new cases, 965 positive cases are associated with the South Central Correctional Facility in Wayne County. “This report of cases also contributes to the high positivity rate for the day. Additional questions about COVID-19 cases associated with this facility should be directed to the Tennessee Department of Correction,” the department said in the release.
In addition, the department reported a disruption in laboratory reporting since Friday that will result in a higher caseload over the next few days.
Tennessee’s seven-day new cases average increased slightly to 1,476 additional cases per day.
TDH also confirmed seven additional deaths, bringing Tennessee up to 1,754 total deaths. It’s the first time since August 23 that the state announced a single-digit increase in deaths.
Out of the confirmed positive cases, 116,864 have recovered, an increase of 2,095 recoveries.
The latest number of hospitalizations went up by 38 to 6,878. A note on the department’s website states this total is an indication of the number of patients that were ever hospitalized during their illness and not an indication of the number of patients currently hospitalized.
Of the 154,933 cases, 78,207 are female (50%), 74,651 are male (48%), and 2,075 are pending (1%).
Tennessee has processed 2,197,316 tests with 2,042,383 negative results. The percentage for positive cases increased by .1% to 7.1%. Monday’s update added 11,952 tests to the state’s total.
COVID-19 in Nashville
Earlier Monday, Metro Public Health Department officials reported 25,975 cases of COVID-19 in Davidson County.
Last week, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced changes to the modified Phase Two reopening plan that would take effect on September 1.
Among the changes, Cooper said weddings, funerals, and other similar ceremonies at event venues may resume at 1/3 capacity or up to 125 people, assuming proper social distancing is followed and masks are worn. He added ceremonies must be “carefully controlled and supervised.”
The mayor said transpotainment will also be able to resume at half capacity, with a maximum of ten people, who must all belong to the same party. Masks must be worn while standing.
Vanderbilt University is investigating reports that undergraduate students violated COVID-19 protocols during a gathering Saturday evening at The Ingram Commons, according to a university spokesperson.
A Davidson County inmate died Saturday after a confirmed case of COVID-19, according to the sheriff’s office.
Schools Moving Forward
The Metro Schools Board of Education announced last week that Metro Nashville Public Schools will continue virtual learning through the district’s fall break.
Earlier this month, the Department of Education released a new online dashboard to help track a school’s status on offering in-person learning, virtual learning, or a hybrid. Though one of the initiatives is already being removed. On August 14, TDOE Commissioner Penny Schwinn sent a letter to lawmakers stating Gov. Bill Lee asked the department to remove the guidance on the plans for the child well-being checks.
Parents are questioning what they need to know to keep their kids safe during the pandemic and if the state is releasing enough information. Student privacy has become an ongoing national conversation in the wake of coronavirus with many questioning what information may be released and what should be kept private.
On August 18, Dr. Schwinn pointed to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as a top reason why the state won’t release specific COVID-19 data on students. She said local districts must make their own decisions on what to report.
The state addressed guidelines that could keep someone in isolation up to 24 days if they are exposed to COVID-19. Several school districts highlighted the 24-day quarantine period in communication with families this week, but the state said the guideline is nothing new.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
Governor Lee has left mask mandates up to individual Tennessee counties and two just outside Nashville have different views on whether mandates are still necessary.
The face mask requirement in Williamson County expired on over the weekend. Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron extended his order until Sept. 30.
Last week, a Tennessee state lawmaker testing positive for COVID is getting a lot of attention because of how he might have contracted the virus. Nashville Democrat Bill Beck released a statement Thursday saying in part, “I will be shocked if I am the only member who caught COVID-19 while attending a special session.”