Governor: State vaccine program among nation’s best

Thursday, February 11, 2021

In his state of the state address, Monday night, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee offered extensive praise for his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have consistently been in the top 10 for vaccine distribution nationally and we expect that to continue in the weeks and months ahead,” Lee said.

According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control, Tennessee ranks near the bottom (46th of the 50 states and Washington DC) in the percentage of its citizens that have been given the first of two shots of the vaccines. Tennessee has used 70 percent of the vaccine it has received and ranks 34th for how many doses it’s used. Tennessee has received 1.16 million doses and used 805,720.

The five states trailing Tennessee for the percentage of their citizens vaccinated are (from the bottom up) Alabama, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Rhode Island.

Lee also touted his administration’s implementation of free testing, “We were one of the first to make free testing available to every resident ….” Lee announced “free COVID-19 testing available for every Tennessean regardless of traditional symptoms …” on April 15, 2020. His announcement came 28 days after the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law making free testing available in all 50 states.

COUNTY CASES CONTINUE TO FALL

The number of active cases daily in Bedford County continues to fall, down from 599 on Jan. 11 to 129 on Feb. 11. Since Feb. 1, the deaths of 12 residents of Bedford County have been attributed to the coronavirus. The state health department reported zero new cases in Bedford County on Feb. 8. That good news, however, may be the result of a very low number of tests reported on that date. In the state’s Feb. 8 report, there were just 45 tests conducted in Bedford County. Also, there were no positive test reports in school age children for Feb. 8.

TENNESSEE

The number of Tennesseans whose deaths have been reported as due to the coronavirus continues at a high rate: 981 in the first nine days of February.

“More important than that, our hospitalization numbers have sharply declined as COVID cases in hospitals have dropped more than 60% since our peak,” Lee said in his state of the state speech.

That dog that won’t hunt.

In the last 14 days (Jan. 27 through Feb. 9) there have been 1,079 new hospitalizations attributed to COVID- 19. In the 14 days before that there were 1,197 new hospitalizations. That’s a 9.8 percent drop. In cheery picking for other 14 day surges in hospitalizations, one of the highest was Dec. 29 through Jan. 11, when there were 1,203 new hospitalizations. From that figure the most recent decline was a 10.3 percent drop.

Governor Lee also cited the declining number of new cases: “Our cases counts have plummeted, down more than two thirds since our peak six weeks ago,” Lee said.

In part the number of new cases is down because of the decline in voluntary testing — fewer tests, fewer cases. In the last 14 days (from Jan. 28 through Feb. 9) the state health department reports there were 262,548 tests conducted statewide. In the prior 14 days (from Jan. 15 through Jan. 27) there were 293,791 tests. There were 31,243 fewer tests in the most recent 14 day increment. In the most recent 14 days, testing revealed 31,656 new cases in Tennessee. In the prior 14 days testing revealed 44,734 new cases.