COVID-19 continues to rise; Bedford County averages 52 new cases daily

Thursday, December 24, 2020
When mapping the severity of COVID-19, the colors range from yellow (the least severe) to deep red where the spread is out of control. Tennessee is rivaled only by Rhode Island in its universal spread of deep red. Of Tennessee’s neighbors, only Northern Alabama shows nearly as much dark red.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the number of active cases of COVID-19 in Bedford County is rising quickly.

From Dec. 13 through Dec. 23, the daily average number of cases was 578. In the previous 11 days (Dec. 2 through Dec. 12) the daily average number of cases was 355. The percentage increase, from the period Dec. 2 through Dec. 12 to Dec. 13 through Dec. 23 was 62.8 percent.

Bedford County averaged 52 new cases per day over the last 14 days.

Since the last day of November, 1,408 residents of Bedford County have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 156 school age children — ages 5-18.

The Waters of Shelbyville, a nursing home, reports that 41 of its 52 residents have tested positive for the viral infection, eight have died and 22 staff members have also tested positive.

Glen Oaks Health and Rehabilitation of Shelbyville has recently had two residents and one staff member test positive for COVID-19.

In the past seven days, the state health department reports that there have been 1,037 tests for the coronavirus in Bedford County and 366 came back positive — a positivity rate of 35.2 percent, more than seven times above what the CDC and World Health Organization deem necessary to accurately gauge the severity of an outbreak.

Statewide, there were 313,809 tests conducted with 63,924 positives — a positivity rate of 20.3 percent.

“The World Health Organization recommended in May that the percent positive remain below 5 percent for at least two weeks before governments consider reopening,” according to Johns Hopkins University.

Positivity rates are deemed by public health officials to be one important tool to judge the extent of the virus but they are subject to error due to human behavior. Most people who go for tests are feeling sick, or have a reason to be worried about contracting the virus such as contact with an infected person or are in a high risk group due to age or underlying health conditions or because of employment at a nursing home or other healthcare facility. From these groups of people you will get more positives than you would in the general community. To get an accurate picture of the severity of the problem you have to consider other factors such as the number of new cases and deaths, for example.

As of Dec. 23, Tennessee was in the top 10 states with the highest positivity rates. The states with the highest positivity rates were (from high to low) Idaho with 43 percent, Alabama with 40.4 percent, Pennsylvania with 39.1 percent, South Dakota with 36.1 percent, Kansas with 34.4 percent, Iowa with 32.3 percent, Mississippi with 23.1, Oklahoma with 21.1 percent, Tennessee with 20.3 percent and Arkansas with 19 percent.

From Dec. 1 to Dec. 23, the deaths fo 25 Bedford County have been attributed to COVID-19. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, the deaths of 1,778 Tennesseans have been attributed to the coronavirus. According to the state health department, the deaths of 111 people on Wednesday were due to the coronavirus.

In the last 14 days, 118,278 Tennesseans have tested positive for COVID-19.

Of Tennessee hospitals’ 2,037 Intensive Care Unit beds, 1,866 are occupied leaving 171 available. Of Tennessee hospitals’ 11,524 regular floor beds, 9,843 are filled leaving 1,681 available. In the last seven days, 712 people were hospitalized in Tennessee.

Tennessee continues to have the highest number of new cases Per Capita in the U.S. with 117.1 per 100,000 in the last seven days.