COVID skyrockets in Bedford County

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The State Health Department reported that Bedford County had 316 active cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the highest number since the first case of the coronavirus was recorded in the county on March 25. Sunday’s number broke the previous record of 280 which was set just six days earlier, Nov. 9.

By one of the primary yardsticks used to measure how widespread transmission of the virus is and whether an area is conducting a sufficient number of tests to know, Bedford County is in trouble. Bedford County’s positivity rate is four times above what public health experts say is necessary to accurately judge the severity of the outbreak.

Bedford County’s positivity rate in the last eight days was 21.78 percent. (The positivity rate is the percent of the total number of tests that yield a positive result.) This current positivity rate makes it highly likely that many more people are infected than the 276 found in the tests. Public health experts say to ensure you’re testing program is reasonably accurate the positivity rate should be below 5 percent. Some cities and states are considering shutdowns when they hit a positivity rate of 4 percent.

According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, “A high percent positive means that more testing should probably be done—and it suggests that it is not a good time to relax restrictions aimed at reducing coronavirus transmission. Because a high percentage of positive tests suggests high coronavirus infection rates (due to high transmission in the community), a high percent positive can indicate it may be a good time to add restrictions to slow the spread of disease.”

Bedford County has no restrictions beyond mask mandates some stores have imposed.

The statewide positivity rate over the last eight days (Nov. 8 through Nov. 15) was 12.6 percent with 32,722 new cases reported. On Nov. 15, the state reported 5,614 new cases.

In the last 15 days, the Tennessee Health Department reports 47,265 new cases of the coronavirus, an average of 3,151 per day.

In four days last week (Tuesday through Friday) 242 Tennesseans died from COVID-19.

The number of school-age children (ages 5-18) in Bedford County that have tested positive is rising. From Oct. 30 to Nov. 15, in Bedford County 73 school age children have tested positive. In the last 24 days (Oct. 23 through Nov. 15) 100 school age children in Bedford County have tested positive.