Tennessee COVID-19 cases increase, driving higher hospitalizations – Tennessean

COVID-19 infections rose sharply again last week throughout Tennessee and Davidson County, continuing an upward trend that has been ongoing for the last two months or so, according to state Department of Health data.

Notably, statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations are now starting to quickly rise again after remaining relatively flat for months. As of May 21, there were 270 such hospitalizations — a 44% increase from the previous week’s 187 cases.

The seven-day average for infections throughout the state was 1,288, up from the prior week’s 944 average. About six weeks ago, the average was 192.

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In Davidson County, the seven-day average was 206.7 as of Saturday, up from 169.6 the week prior.

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The statewide average test-positivity rate (the rate of people who get tested and are positive for COVID-19) last week also signaled an increased spread of the novel coronavirus. 

As of May 21, the rate was 13.52%, up from the prior week’s 10.87%. In Davidson County, the rate was 20.1%, up from 17.1% the prior week.

Higher test-positivity rates in a given community suggest that COVID-19 is spreading widely, public health officials say. Generally speaking, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health considers rates above 5% as “too high.”

State public health agencies have counted more than 2.05 million cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 26,372 have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.

About 54.7% of Tennesseans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national average is 66.6%.

Frank Gluck is the health care reporter for The Tennessean. He can be reached at fgluck@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FrankGluck.

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