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A growing number of Tennesseans are opting to take the COVID-19 vaccine, but new infection case counts continue to rise sharply

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- More Tennesseans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, but the number of confirmed new infections and hospitalizations continue to climb.

New COVID-19 case counts rose again last week statewide and here in Middle Tennessee. The seven day new infection count jumped 20 percent over the previous week statewide.

Well over 10,000 Tennesseans tested virus positive this past week alone. The state hasn’t seen that many new cases reported routinely in a single week since February.

All seven counties in the Greater Nashville area reported rising infection numbers last week. Metro Nashville reported new case counts were up 8 percent, Rutherford County 11 percent higher, and Williamson County reported a 13 percent jump week over week.

Tennessee COVID-19 hospitalizations have now risen 23 days in a row. As of Monday morning there are just over 1100 Tennesseans being treated in hospitals statewide for virus complications.

Over the past three weeks, the number of virus patients admitted to hospitals across Tennessee has increased an average of 7 percent each day.

Monday’s 1100 patient case count is still relatively low compared to last winter’s surge in cases. In early January of this year there were some 3300 patients under COVID-19 care in Tennessee hospitals.

Still, the strain on local medical facilities is becoming critical in some parts of the state. A hospital in West Tennessee’s Humphreys County recently reported that 41 percent of its beds were occupied by COVID patients.

On the plus side, more Tennesseans are getting inoculated against the virus.

Vaccinations statewide peaked in early April when more than 376,000 Tennesseans received their first dose in a single week. But by early July the number of state residents getting that first shot fell to some 57,000 vaccinations in one week’s time.

The first-shot-in-arms count has now risen three weeks in a row, with well over 78,000 Tennesseans getting their initial dose last week.

However, the number of state residents completing vaccination continues to fall. The discrepancy is likely due to the three to four week wait required between the administration of the first and second Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations.