Nashville sees a dramatic jump in the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is no longer current. State health officials are updating the COVID-19 infection numbers daily at 2 p.m. Central Time. Please look for the latest report at WMOT.org/news.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Mike Osborne) -- Tennessee health officials report the number of confirmed COVID-9 cases jumped to 73 Tuesday, an increase of 21 infections in the past 24 hours.
Nearly all the new cases were reported in Metro Nashville. The number of confirmed cases county-wide jumped to 42, up 17 infections in 24 hours. Williamson County saw its confirmed cases rise from 18 to 21. Knoxville's count increased by one infection to two total cases. Of the seven other counties reporting infections, none have seen new cases in several days.
Gov. Bill Lee announced yesterday the state now has the ability to test thousands of residents a day for coronavirus. During a press briefing, Lee said Tennessee will this week begin so-called “drive-thru-testing.” However, Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Percy explained the tests will be reserved for those referred by a physician, health care workers, senior citizens, individuals with compromised immune systems, and people who have been directly exposed to someone with the virus.
Nashville health officials have set their own plan for broader testing in motion. Health Department Director Dr. Michael Caldwell told reporters yesterday that Metro also hopes to begin testing this week at several locations around the county. Nashville’s plan involves first calling a coronavirus hotline, those clear by hotline staff can then be screened at one of several “drive-thru” testing centers. Metro is also launching an all-in-one website for local coronavirus information.
Vanderbilt infectious disease expert Dr. Bill Shaffner told WPLN yesterday that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases will likely jump dramatically once widespread testing begins. Dr. Shaffner says the number of cases currently being reported is likely just “the tip of the iceberg.”